IHC refers alleged Facebook posts of judge to FIA for verification

ISLAMABAD   -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday sent the alleged Facebook posts of Judge Humayun Dilawar to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to check their authenticity.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq issued the directions while hearing different petitions of Imran Khan Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in the Toshakana case.

The IHC bench also directed to fix all petitions including challenging the admissibility of the Toshakhana case, transferring of case to another judge and challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court.

The bench noted in its written order, “One of the reasons agitated by the petitioner for transfer of the matter to another court is the bias of the Presiding Officer hearing the matter and on this behalf, certain posts apparently on his Facebook account, were presented before the Presiding Officer as well as shown to this Court.”

“This Court was informed that learned trial court, as such, denied the posts. The office is directed to remit the issue of the authenticity of the posts to the Cyber Crime Wing of Federal Investigation Agency, Islamabad with the direction to submit the report positively before the next date of hearing,” directed Justice Aamer.

The instant petition was taken up in the early hours of the day and the court was informed that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has made certain observations while hearing Criminal Petition No.757- 2023 of Imran Khan and disposing it off on 26.07.2023.

Due to the non-availability of a copy of the order of the Supreme Court, the matter was adjourned to be taken up later in the day. The case was taken up in the late hours and, by then, the court had received official intimation of the above-referred order.

During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner read out the said order and submitted that according to the same, Crl. Rev. Nos.74 (Revision by Imran Khan against the dismissal of his objections over the maintainability of complaints under offence under the Election Act.) & 76 of 2023 as well as T.A. No.662 of 2023 are to Crl. Rev. No.108-2023 be taken up and decided with the instant petition.

Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris submitted that it is trite law that where a question of jurisdiction is raised, the same is to be decided first without proceeding further as to the merits of the matter; on this behalf, reference was made to several judgments.

Justice Aamer said in his order that as noted in the order dated 19.07.2023, this is the second round of litigation inter alia subject to limitation and authority of the person filing the complaint on behalf of the Election Commission of Pakistan, as earlier, this Court had decided Crl. Rev. No.75-2023, which was allowed vide order dated 04.07.2023 and the matter was referred to the learned trial court for a decision afresh.

The trial court dismissed the petition of the petitioner vide order dated 08.07.2023, which is the subject matter of the instant Criminal Revision.

The bench mentioned that the Supreme Court while deciding Criminal Petition No.757- 2023 against the order dated 04.07.2023 passed by this Court, observed as follows:- “The matter was argued at some length at first, but given recent developments, the learned counsel for the parties have agreed on disposing of the petition in the following terms: i)

That the High Court is to decide Cr.R. No.108 of 2023, along with two other connected pending matters, i.e. Cr. R. No.74 and 76 of 2023, which challenge the jurisdiction of the trial court. ii) That the application filed by the petitioner for transfer of the case, i.e., T.A. No.662 of 20203, pending in the High Court be also decided by the High Court along with the aforementioned criminal revision petitions.

” The apex court said that given the joint request of counsel for both parties, we are sanguine that the High Court would, in the interest of justice, take up and decide along with Cr. R. No.108 of 2023 the two connected criminal revision petitions relating to jurisdiction (Cr. R. No.74 and 76 of 2023) and the transfer application (T.A. No.662 of 2023). The present petition is disposed of accordingly”.

The IHC bench declared that in terms of the above order, with the instant petition, Crl. Rev. Nos.74 & 76 of 2023 along with T.A. No.662- 2023, are to be heard and directed the office to fix Crl. Rev. No.74 & 76 of 2023 as well as T.A. No.662- 2023 along with the instant petition.

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