ATC warns of declaring Gandapur, others ‘absconder’ over failure to appear



ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the federal capital on Monday warned that it would declare Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and other suspects as “absconder” over their failure to appear before the court.

The remarks were made by ATC Judge Tahir Abbas Supra during the hearing of two cases lodged against Pakistan Tehreek Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and other party leaders regarding alleged vandalism and violation of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) at Sangjani and I-9 police stations in the federal capital.

During the hearing today, PTI leaders Faisal Javed Khan, Ali Nawaz Awan, Wasiq Qayyum, Aamer Kiani and other suspects appeared before the court whereas exemption pleas were filed by KP CM Gandapur and PTI leader Amir Mughal.

Reacting to the request for exemption from appearance, Judge Supra said that it was not a valid reason to argue that one can’t appear before the court because he’s out of the city.

“Who’s responsible for the failure to appear, the suspects or the court?” the judge questioned adding that no request for exemption of appearance from anyone will be entertained.

“We are issuing non-bailable warrants for all the absentee suspects,” Judge Supra remarked.

In response, the lawyers acknowledged that the onus for failure to appear before the court falls on the suspects and requested the court one more chance, reassuring that all the suspects would appear before the court in the next hearing.

At this, Judge Supra said that the suspects who fail to appear before the court on July 8 will be declared “absconders”, stressing that it is not necessary to wait for 30 days to declare a fugitive of the court an absconder.

The judge also stressed that the cases will only proceed if they have something in them and otherwise will be disposed of.

“I have to conclude these cases [and] it will only benefit you [if that happens],” he said.

Additionally, the court also sought a written reply from the Superintendent Adiala jail regarding the appearance of the PTI founder via video link.

The court then adjourned both cases till July 8 and announced that the cases would be heard on a daily basis from the next hearing.