Additional District & Sessions Judge Islamabad Humayun Dilawar to indict Imran Khan on May 10 in Toshakhana case
Court orders Imran Khan to ensure his presence in courtroom on 10th May
Court rejects two applications filed by Imran Khan’s counsel while challenging jurisdiction of court & maintainability of the case
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
An Islamabad court will indict Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, in which the deposed prime minister is accused of taking gifts in an illegal manner. The court has rejected two applications filed by Imran Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed while challenging the jurisdiction of court and maintainability of the case.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar said on Friday he would charge the PTI chief and ordered him to ensure his presence in his courtroom — as he rejected his request to dismiss the case.
The sessions’ court’s ruling came after hearing detailed arguments from the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) counsel Advocate Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz and Imran Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Haris Ahmed. The judge has summoned the PTI chief in-person on May 10.
During the hearing, Imran’s lawyer presented his arguments on the admissibility of the ECP’s complaint and raised an objection regarding the jurisdiction of the court.
Haris read out sections 190 and 193 of the Election Act in court. The lawyer maintained that the application against the maintainability of the case was filed under Section 190A of the Election Act. He added that the sessions court could not hear the matter directly.
Haris further stated that the case being admissible and under trial were two different things and that if the case was referred under Section 190, the court could then hear it. The PTI counsel provided several case references to the court.
Imran Khan has not appeared before the court to date. He came to the capital judicial complex once to appear before the court, but due to PTI workers’ presence, chaos ensued and Imran Khan was allowed to mark his attendance in his car.
The former prime minister was barred from holding public office in October last year after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).
The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai.
The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a “Master Graff limited edition” valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000).
The election commission’s order had said Imran Khan stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.
Following the order, the election watchdog moved a sessions court in Islamabad and sought criminal proceedings against the PTI chief.
The trial court had issued an arrest warrant for the PTI chief in March due to his continuous absence, despite summons for indictment in the case.
The order of arrest, however, was cancelled by the trial court a few days later, over PTI’s insistence that Khan’s life was in danger and he needed security. The court had adjourned the hearing till March 30 and ordered Khan to ensure his presence.
However, during the March 30 hearing, Imran Khan — who was ousted from the prime minister’s office in April last year — was granted relief till April 29 despite his absence.
Under the rules governing “Toshakhana” — a Persian word meaning “treasure house” — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.
The Toshakhana has been under the microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.