An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday granted Prime Minister Imran Khan permanent exemption from appearing before it in cases related to attacks on Pakistan Television (PTV) and Parliament House in 2014. The court also accepted exemption requests of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jehangir Tareen and other party leaders.Earlier the court had summoned all the accused to appear before the court. Babar Awan, counsel for PM Imran, appeared on his behalf and submitted a request for the premier’s permanent exemption from hearings.“If there is more than on accused in a case than the suspects can be exempted from appearing,” Awan contended. To this, the prosecutor remarked, “We have no reservations in granting PM Imran exemption from appearing.” Awan then submitted an affidavit on the premier’s behalf and said, “I will appear in place of him.”The premier had earlier directed PTI’s legal team to file acquittal pleas in the cases registered against party leaders under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) during the 2014 sit-in. The prime minister and other party leaders, including President Dr Arif Alvi, Asad Umar and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, are accused of attacking parliament and PTV office during the 2014 sit-in in Islamabad.The PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leaders were booked after they marched towards parliament and PM’s House during the 2014 sit-in, in an attempt to topple the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government after the Model Town incident. Published in Daily Times, September 12th 2018.