Islamabad court reserves verdict on Imran Khan's exemption plea in Toshakhana case

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday filed a petition seeking exemption from appearance in the Toshakhana reference case.

The petition was submitted by Mr Khan’s lawyers Gohar Ali Khan and Ali Bukhari as Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal resumed hearing the case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for criminal proceedings against the PTI chief for allegedly misleading the officials about gifts he received from the foreign dignitaries during his tenure as prime minister of the country.

The court has summoned the PTI chief today (Tuesday) for indictment in the case.

At the outset of the hearing, Mr Bukhari submitted the exemption plea on behalf of Imran Khan on medical grounds. He asked the court to fix next hearing of the case after Feb 15 as the PTI chief was scheduled to appear before Judge Rakhshanda Shaheen on that day.

“Provide me a date when Imran Khan will appear before court,” the judge told the lawyer as he expressed resentment over non-appearance of the suspect in the case.

Mr Bukhari said his client would attend the hearing if he was allowed by his doctors as he is recovering from bullet wounds in Lahore after an assassination attempt in Wazirabad. He said surety bonds worth Rs20,000 were submitted on Monday for the exemption plea.

The lawyer also told the judge that the ECP had not provided the verified copies of the evidence in the case. Later, the court directed the counsel of the top electoral body to hand over the copies to the PTI lawyer.

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved verdict on Mr Khan’s exemption plea.

Last year, the top electoral body had sent the reference to the district and sessions court under Sections 137, 170, and 167 of the Election Act, seeking initiation of criminal proceedings against Imran Khan for incorrect declaration of assets for 2017-2018 and 2018-19. The ECP, in the petition, has called for a three-year jail term and imposing a fine on the PTI chief.

On Dec 15, the court admitted the commission’s plea against Mr Khan. In its three-page verdict, the court noted that prima facie, the former premier didn't mention the details of the gifts he acquired from the Toshakhana. In August last, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) moved the ECP against Imran Khan over not filing the details of gifts he obtained from Toshakhana for Rs21.5 million.

Later in October, the ECP, in a unanimous decision, found the former prime minister guilty of “corrupt practices” and disqualified him from being a member of parliament.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt