President Arif Alvi waives his immunity in parliament attack case

Appears in anti-terrorism court in Islamabad: Says there should be no different treatment of people on basis of their status in society

By: News Desk
Published: 11:38 AM, 4 Mar, 2022
President Arif Alvi waives his immunity in parliament attack case
Caption: File photo.
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In the rarest move, President Arif Alvi himself drove to an anti-terrorism court (ATC) housed in the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad on Friday and filed a petition, in which he said he was giving up his right to immunity from prosecution in parliament attack case, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

ATC Judge Muhammad Ali Warraich heard the case. 

Talking to the media on the occasion, the president said that Article 348 of the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed him an exemption from attending court hearings in criminal cases. “I, therefore, voluntarily give up this concession,” he said, and added, “There should be no different treatment of people on the basis of their status in society.”    

Arif Alvi went on to say that when he learnt that the court was about to pen down the verdict in the case, he decided to appear so that nobody could complain in the future that he had skipped the hearing.

“A case was registered against me in Sialkot when I became the president. But I refused to avail immunity. I hired a lawyer who got me won the case,” he recalled.  

So long as, the president added, the courts did not treat everybody alike, there could be no justice. “This is my request to the judiciary to ensure that decisions are given in the cases at the earliest,” Alvi said, adding, “I have come here not as the president of Pakistan but an ordinary citizen, named Arif Alvi.” 

He further said that when he studied Islamic law, he found out there was no concept of immunity for rulers in it. “And although I am bound by the Constitution of Pakistan, still it is my belief that the Holy Quran is the supreme law,” Alvi said, adding that all the four pious caliphs of Islam appeared in the courts with dignity and honour. 

“I was booked in parliament attack case in 2016,” he added.

Speaking to the media, Babar Awan, counsel for President Arif Alvi, said that although the president had been exempted from court hearings under the constitution, but still he decided to appear as an ordinary citizen. “He has told me that he wants to change the course of the country’s history by giving up his right of immunity,” Awan added.

Reporter Ihtesham Kiani