‘What trial court did was wrong’: IHC CJ says decision on Imran Khan’s plea on Monday
PTI chief’s lawyer Khosa walks out of court in protest, says won’t attend next hearing: CJ remarks two wrongs do not make one right, can’t do what trial court did
By News Desk
August 25, 2023 10:48 AM
Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has failed to get relief even today on his appeal seeking suspension of his sentence in the Toshakhana criminal proceedings case in the Islamabad High Court and the hearing was adjourned till Monday after ECP's lawyer did not appear in the court due to “ill-health”, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A two-judge bench led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri heard the PTI chief’s appeal on Friday.
ECP assistant lawyer and PTI chairman’s lawyer Latif Khan Khosa appeared before the court.
During the hearing, Election Commission of Pakistan's lawyer Amjad Pervaiz did not appear due to ill-health and his assistant lawyer asked for adjournment.
The assistant lawyer said that Amjad Pervaiz is not available today as he is “very ill”, he has been advised bed rest for two days by doctors.
At this, the IHC chief justice said: "The request for suspension of sentence is now at a critical stage." He added that arguments would have been completed in 15-20 minutes.
PTI chief’s lawyer Khosa contested saying that he was sick yesterday but he attended the court. He termed the ECP lawyer’s absence a “very wrong act.” He said that the ECP lawyer only had to present 10-minute arguments, but he skipped the proceedings.
Khosa said, “A person has been in the jail for 20 days. Do you want him to keep in jail for another three days? An assistant lawyer also has a power of attorney, he can give arguments. Your junior judge is sending him to jail, if he is not appearing, can't you suspend the sentence?”
Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said, “Today we are sitting for this case, we can also do what the trial court has done, we have to run the system, we will see what the trial court has done on the administrative side. We will hear the case on Monday.”
The court then put off the hearing till Monday.
Latif Khosa left the rostrum in protest saying that they would not come again.
Chief Justice Farooq remarked, “Even if no one comes, I will announce the decision on Monday. Two wrongs do not make one right, we will not do what the trial court did.”
The chief justice further remarked what the trial court had done was wrong.
Khosa said; "We will not appear in court, do what you have to do." He requested the bench to suspend the sentence today.
Saying this, Khosa walked out of the court in protest.
The High Court adjourned the hearing of the case till Monday.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court adjourned its hearing on the Toshakhana case till the decision of the high court in the case.
The apex court on Wednesday directed the IHC to hear the case first, and after its decision, the SC would conduct hearing on it. During its proceedings, the chief justice of Pakistan found ‘defects’ in the judgement of trial court which sentenced the PTI chairman to three years in jail in the Toshakhana case.
Yesterday, the same IHC bench led by CJ Farooq heard the PTI chief’s plea.
As the proceedings were set into motion, PTI lawyer Latif Khosa while presenting his arguments contended before the IHC that he would base his arguments on three grounds that would justify the suspension of PTI chief’s conviction. “One is a short sentence,” he said, adding: “The second is about the jurisdiction of the court. Thirdly, a sessions court did not have the jurisdiction to hear ECP’s appeal. It should have sorted out the jurisdiction problem first.”
Khosa said that according to the Article 218, ECP 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 secretary instead of the CEC or the ECP members authorised an officer (district election commission), hence, the complaint was filed without due authorisation.
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 also said that the trial court judge “disobeyed the IHC’s directions and instead of examining the jurisdiction and maintainability of the complaint” convicted Mr Khan. He also pointed out that the Supreme Court also observed the verdict was passed in haste.
After hearing Khosa’s arguments, CJ Farooq remarked that the court would look into the matter of ‘haste judgement’ by the additional sessions judge and adjourned the hearing till Friday (today).
Reporter Farzana Siddique