Sessions court to announce verdict on May 29 in unlawful marriage case

Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi’s appeal against conviction

Couple was convicted for seven years with Rs0.5 million fine on Feb 3.

Islamabad   -  A sessions court of Islamabad on Thursday reserved its judgement on an appeal filed by former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi against their conviction in unlawful marriage case. Sessions Court (East) Judge Shahrukh Arjumand will announce the verdict on the appeal on May 29. The couple was convicted for 7 years with Rs 0.5 million fine on Feb 3 earlier this year after a three-day trial at Adiala Jail.

Raja Rizwan Abbasi, lawyer of complainant Khawar Maneka who flew to Denmark last week was ordered to present his final arguments on Thursday via video link. He didn’t join the proceedings via video link. However, Usman Riaz Gill, lawyer of Buhsra Bibi, submitted his final arguments yesterday. Gill argued before the court that the complaint was filed after a delay of 5 years and 11 months. According to the complainant divorce was given in Nov 2017 and he filed an application on November 25, 2023 showing his malafide intention towards the respondents. He argued that Maneka filed a complaint 11 days after spending months in Anti-Corruption Establishment, Okara.

Gill submitted in court that Mufti Saeed was involved in a conspiracy to topple an elected government in 1996 through Operation Khalifa and Operation Regime Change. He did the same by becoming a witness to hurl excuses against a political figure. Gill also questioned the proceedings in trial court. He also argued that the trial court did not appreciate and apply its judicial mind because this complaint if true in any case would have fallen in family court instead of criminal court. He further added that criminal court had no right to declare any marriage void.

Advocate Usman Gill also reminded the court that, Deputy District Prosecutor Rana Hassan Abbas conceded in court that the complaint was non-entertainable, non-maintainable and lacked jurisdiction after which he was removed as DDP from this court. Judge Arjumand remarked, “What else do you expect after that.” After Gill completed his arguments, Deputy District Prosecutor Adnan Ali came to the rostrum and said he did not get the chance to make initial arguments and he wanted to give final arguments as well. He argued that Bushra Bibi and Khawar Maneka had been happily married since December 1989 with 5 children but when Imran Khan intruded into their house Maneka, who wanted to reconcile, gave a halfhearted divorce to Buhsra Bibi on November 14th, 2017.

DDP Adnan Ali argued that it was natural human conduct that made the complainant file a complaint after 5 years and 11 months and he also cried during the trial proceedings. He said Bushra Bibi’s claim of oral talaq in April 2017 is wrong because the whole family went to Northern Areas in August and he had pictures of that trip as well. He said it was also natural human conduct that Khawar Maneka took a special oath twice but Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi didn’t take a special oath even after committing to it. He continued his arguments by saying that Bushra Bibi didn’t even state her date of oral divorce in her 342 CrPC statement, she mentioned mid-April, how could someone not remember the exact date of such a tragedy? He again said it’s a natural human conduct that his client’s life was ruined and she had no remorse or regret. When DDP closed his arguments, Aimal Khan, an associate of Raja Rizwan Abbasi appeared at the rostrum and said, “We were ready to complete our arguments last time but couldn’t because your honor adjourned the case because of your busy schedule (Speech at the judicial academy). The right of the complainant to be represented by his private counsel cannot be infringed. We will assist the court on the remaining points and points raised by learned counsel Salman Akram Raja and Usman Gill when they argued the case.” Judge Arjumand finished the proceedings and left the courtroom. After 15 minutes he gave the date of May 29 for the verdict.

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