IHC adjourns hearing of plea against conviction of Imran Khan in Toshakhana case
By News Desk
August 24, 2023 09:17 AM
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has adjourned the hearing of the plea against PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan’s conviction in Toshakhana case for tomorrow (Friday) after arguments from both the prosecution and the defence, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A two-judge bench of IHC led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the plea.
As the proccedings were set into motion, PTI lawyer Lateef Khosa while presenting his arguments contended before the IHC that there were three grounds pertaining to the suspension of a conviction. “One is a short sentence,” he said, adding: “The second is about the jurisdiction of the court.”
Khosa maintained that a sessions court did not have the jurisdiction to hear ECP’s appeal. “It should have sorted out the jurisdiction problem first,” he added.
Khosa said that as per the ECP’s definition the body comprises of ECP chief and its members. “According to the law, the ECP has the right to let any of its employees file a complaint,” he said and added “In this case, the election commission secretary authorised the district election commission. There is no authorisation by the commission itself in this case.”
Khosa further said that the sessions court announced the verdict without deciding the matter related to the jurisdiction and authorisation. He argued the trial court even overlooked the high court’s order and that the trial court’s decision had a lot of loopholes. “IHC accepted our appeal in the face of the trial court’s order,” he said and added “The high court had sent the case back to the trial court for a decision.”
Khosa maintained the high court ordered the trial court to answer the questions raised by the defence in its decision but it did not give sufficient time to the defence.
While presenting his arguments before the court, Amjad Pervaiz, a lawyer for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), said that a plea of the PTI chairman regarding the right to defence was pending in the Supreme Court (SC) and a single bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
“This bench cannot make any observations on the matter as it is being heard in the Supreme Court and the IHC single bench,” he added.
“This bench has been sandwiched between the Supreme Court and the IHC single bench,” IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq remarked.
“A petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the decision of the IHC. The trial court declared the witnesses of the PTI chairman irrelevant,” Amjad Pervaiz told the court.
“The returns are submitted in consultation with the consultant. It is the client who has to tell what his assets are. The accountant does not write anything on his behalf. The client tells. He [Imran] showed four goats in the returns but did not disclose the other relevant items,” he stated.
SC hearing likely next week
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also held its proceedings in the Toshakhana case on Thursday afternoon and as the hearing was still under way at the IHC, the apex court adjourned its hearing until the high court reaches a decision on the petition.
After waiting for a possible decision by the IHC in the Toshakhana case all day long on Thursday, the Supreme Court will now conduct its hearing next week as SC’s Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi left for Lahore, reported 24News TV channel, quoting sources.
Three-member bench led by CJP Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Mazahir Naqvi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel was due to conduct the hearing.
FC, police deployed
Authorities fearing a strong protest from the PTI lawyers a heavy contingent of police and FC personnel were deployed outside the IHC.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had hinted at “procedural flaws” in conviction of Imran Khan by the trial court while hearing the Toshakhana reference.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked “Prima facies the verdict of the additional sessions judge contains loopholes but the apex court will not intervene right now, rather it will wait for the high court’s decision.”
The Wednesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court came during the hearing of the PTI chief’s challenge to the IHC’s August 3 order of referring the case back to trial court judge Humayun Dilawar, who handed Imran Khan three-year jail term.
Reporters Amanat Gishkori and Farzana Siddique