ATC orders arrest of 17 accused in PTV attack case

ATC orders arrest of 17 accused in PTV attack caseAn Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) here on Monday ordered the arrest of 17 accused who were absent from the hearing of Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters attack case.

At least 103 people were booked after a mob of protesters belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) stormed PTV headquarters and forced its staff to take two of the state broadcaster’s flagship channels — PTV News and PTV World — off the air on Sept 1 last year.

A supporter from Tahirul Qadri led PAT shakes hands with a soldier from Pakistan Army during the revolution march in Islamabad on September 1, 2014. ─Reuters
A supporter from Tahirul Qadri led PAT shakes hands with a soldier from Pakistan Army during the revolution march in Islamabad on September 1, 2014. ─Reuters
Out of the total, 86 of the accused appeared before the court for the hearing which was presided by ATC judge Syed Kausar Abbas.

The challan of FIR No 182 which was registered against the marchers following the attack — and includes a section of murder — was not presented before the court.

The court ordered the police to arrest the 17 accused who were absent in the hearing and present them in the next hearing. The hearing was adjourned to Dec 1.

The 86 accused, who appeared in court today, were arrested during the protracted sit-ins organised by the PTI and PAT against the government. The were later released on bail.

The protesters have been charged with attacking government properties including the PTV and the Parliament House buildings.

A case was registered against the accused under different sections including the Anti-terrorism Act at Secretariat Police Station.

According to eyewitnesses, nearly 400 PTI and PAT workers had stormed the PTV building, across the road from the main entrance to the Pakistan Secretariat. The attack had come soon after demonstrators were repulsed from the secretariat compound.

But the occupying force was dispersed without incident by a contingent of army and Rangers personnel, who arrived on the scene within an hour of the state-TV being taken off-air.

Transmission was restored shortly after noon as the occupying force dispersed peacefully, shouting pro-army slogans and hugging military and paramilitary personnel who arrived at the scene,.

This is the first time that PTV’s transmission had gone blank since October 12, 1999, when former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup after toppling the government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Eyewitnesses told at the time that the protesters were carrying PTI and PAT flags and shouting slogans in favour of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri.

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