ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Thursday appeared before an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad and filed two applications, seeking his acquittal and exemption from personal appearance in the cases pertaining to attacking police officials and buildings of Parliament House and Pakistan Television.

ATC judge Shahrukh Arjumand took up cases regarding attacks on former Islamabad SSP Asmatullah Junejo, PTV headquarters and the Parliament House during the 2014 sit-in.

During the hearing, Khan submitted two applications seeking his acquittal as well as exemption from his personal appearance in appearing before the court.

The PTI chief contended that holding a political gathering was not terrorism. “What type of democracy is this that I have been charged with terrorism for holding a political gathering,” he asked.

At this, the ATC judge directed him to address the court through his lawyer.

Imran’s counsel Babar Awan did not show up, however. The applications will now be taken at the next hearing on February 26.

Talking to the media outside the court, the PTI chief said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was pressurizing courts to clinch a national reconciliation ordinance (NRO).

“The people are supposed to vote, while the judiciary is supposed to uphold justice. But the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is only pressurizing the courts to get another NRO,” he said.

Khan said that nobody was above the law and the rule of law should be upheld in the country.

He said that the country’s foreign policy had failed as Pakistan’s name has been put under the Financial Action Task Force’s global terrorist financing watch-list, which, he said, raised questions on the government’s credibility.

The PTI chief alleged that the PML-N used funds during the Lodhran by-election. “I am confident that they are a corruption mafia. But kudos to Ali Tareen for slogging it out and bagging 91,000 votes,” he said.

He said that Sharif’s acts as if he had done nothing wrong after “stealing millions of dollars from this country”. “He keeps making contemptuous remarks and keeps asking Mujhe Kyun Nikala (why I was ousted) even though he knows what he has done.

“I am convinced that our current prime minister is nothing except a puppet, who has been made to sit there so that corruption can prevail,” said the PTI chief.

Earlier, the Secretariat police also submitted an interim charge-sheet in the ATC. The charge-sheet has named the PTI chief as an accused and it has listed 14 witnesses against him. CCTV footage of the attack on Junejo had also been included in the charge-sheet.

During the 2014sit-in, SSP Junejo was beaten up by protesters on the Constitution Avenue on his first day on the job as ICT police SSP (operations).

Later, the Secretariat police had registered four cases against several PTI and PAT workers for their alleged involvement in vandalism and attacking the former Islamabad police officer.