Police render PTI chief’s statement ‘inadmissible’

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ISLAMABAD: A statement submitted by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in connection with four cases registered against him has been termed inadmissible by police authorities.

An anti-terrorism court hearing cases against Khan on Tuesday had directed the PTI chief to join the investigation process in the four cases that had been registered against him by the Secretariat police in 2014 at the time when he had been heading an anti-government protest outside the Parliament House.

The cases pertain to an attack on a serving senior superintendent of police and other officials, as well as destroying property in the Red Zone and attacking the state TV channel’s building.

Responding to the ATC directive to become part of the investigation process, Khan submitted a one-page statement to Secretariat police through his counsel on Wednesday.

However, senior police officers told an English national daily that when an accused provides a statement, it cannot be considered ‘becoming part of an investigation’. It requires an accused to appear before investigative authorities for interrogation.

The process of interrogation and investigation includes questioning, cross-questioning and examining and verifying the statement of the accused, and this procedure cannot be completed in the absence of the accused, even if he/she has submitted a written statement.

In order to become part of the investigation, as per the court’s orders, Khan must ensure presence before the investigation officer, police authorities stated, adding that either he should appear at a police officer’s office, or request police to approach him at a location of his choice. The Secretariat police station house officer stated that a written statement cannot be deemed sufficient.

The court granted bail to Khan in the four cases that had been under trial at the ATC and asked him to become the part of the investigation. The investigation officer (IO) stated that it was at the court’s discretion to accept the statement or not, adding that it was up to the PTI’s chief to appear before the IO or not.

In his statement, Khan claimed to be heading the “country’s largest democratic and federal political party” mobilised people against rigging in elections, corruption and money-laundering and staged a 126-day sit-in in Islamabad. During the ongoing protest, the government lodged fake cases against him and the peaceful party protestors so that they do not raise their voice against the problems that the country is intrigued with.

As a the head of a political party and in compliance with the Article 16, Khan stated that he had freedom of assembly  and freedom of association under Article 17 and right of speech under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The statement further claimed that the party workers were unarmed and remained peaceful, hence cases against the PTI chief should be withdrawn.