PTI chief stays in jail though court suspends his corruption sentence

'We feel that the applicant is entitled to the suspension of sentence and be released on bail,' notes two-judge bench in short order

Islamabad High Court orders Imran’s release on bail in Toshakhana case n Special court approves Imran's judicial remand till today in cipher case n PTI demands immediate release of party leader from jail n Bushra Bibi, Aleema Khan along with legal team meet Imran in Attock Jail.


ISLAMABAD/ATTOCK   -  A two-judge bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday suspend­ed the jail sentence of Pakistan Teh­reek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and ordered his release on bail in the Toshakhana corruption case.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri an­nounced the short order that was re­served in the last hearing after argu­ments from the two sides. However, the court said that the written order would be issued later on in which reasons for the suspension of the sentence would be mentioned.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s legal team also filed a petition to IHC seek­ing to stop the arrest of the former prime minister in any other case. The petition named NAB, FIA, and police as respondents in the case. 

The trial court had announced a three-year jail term along with Rs100,000 fine to the PTI Chief in the Toshakhana criminal case on August 5. Imran Khan was shifted to Attock Jail after be­ing arrested soon after the verdict was announced. Im­ran Khan had filed the peti­tion challenging his three year sentence in Toshakhana case through his counsels including Barrister Ali Zafar, Sardar Latif Khosa Advocate, Babar Awan, Salman Akram Raja Advocate, Shoaib Shaheen Advocate, Bar­rister Gohar Ali Khan Advocate and others while he cited dis­trict election commissioner as respondent.

The IHC bench in its 9-pges written order stated that in the criminal complaint filed by Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan under Section 190 of the Act, the sentence awarded by the trial court to the applicant qual­ifies as a short sentence. It men­tioned that undoubtedly, the Su­preme Court of Pakistan in The State v. Oaim Ali Shah (1992 SCMR 2192) has held that “it is not necessary that in every case the sentence is to be suspend­ed and the discretion vests with the High Court to grant or re­fuse bail.”

The court said that in the re­ferred judgment, the Supreme Court emphasised that the dis­cretion must be, like all oth­er discretions, exercised upon sound judicial principles. 

“Keeping in view the referred dictum it is also noted and ob­served that the sentence of three years generally is re­garded as a short sentence and where such is the case the dis­cretion is exercised in favour of the applicant by way of suspen­sion of sentence,” maintained the IHC bench.

The IHC bench mentioned that Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa Senior ASC, was correct in pointing out that in terms of the dictum of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Chairman NAB v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (PLD 2019 SC 445) the Supreme Court of Pakistan has deprecated the practice of lengthy judgments in suspen­sion matters. It added that sim­ilar observations were made by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Soba Khan vs The State (2016 SCMR 1325). 

It added that even otherwise, the arguments raised by both sides as to the jurisdiction and other issues “involve deep­er appreciation of the matter which at the stage of suspen­sion is not warranted, especial­ly, where the sentence is a short one, hence though lengthy argu­ments were address by the par­ties such questions are not de­cided and are left to be decided at the stage when the appeal is taken up for adjudication.”

“As noted above, the sentence involved in the instant matter is short, hence we feel that the ap­plicant is entitled to the suspen­sion of sentence and be released on bail,” the high court said.

It continued, “For the above reasons, the instant applica­tion is allowed and the sentence awarded by the trial court vide judgment dated 05.08.2023 is suspended; consequent­ly, the applicant is ordered to be released on bail in the in­stant matter subject to furnish­ing bail bonds in the sum of Rs.100,000/- with one surety in the like amount to the satisfac­tion the /Deputy Registrar (Ju­dicial) of this Court.”

Imran’s judicial remand till Aug 30 A special court on Tues­day approved the judicial re­mand of PTI Chairman Imran Khan till August 30, and direct­ed him to produce before it to­day in cipher case registered under Official Secret Act. 

Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain had already sent former prime minister Im­ran Khan to jail on judicial re­mand on August 15, and sum­moned him on August 30, in personal capacity. The court had issued directions to jail superintendent regarding the production of Imran Khan to­morrow. Meanwhile, our cor­respondent from Attock adds that Imran was not released from Attock Jail. Instead he was sent on judicial remand despite of IHC orders regarding his re­lease from the jail in Toshakha­na case. Imran’s legal team was hopeful that he would be re­leased from the jail but the for­mer PM was transferred to ju­dicial lockup. 

It is also important to note that no PTI worker was seen outside the jail despite the news about the release of Imran was flashed on the media. Former Premier Imran Khan’s spouse Bushra Bibi and his two sisters Aleema Khan and Uzma Khan, Barrister Rashid Salman also had a meeting with him. 

Legal team of Imran Khan consisting of Barrister Uma­ir Khan Niazi and others also came to Attock to meet Imran Khan. Barrister Umair Khan Ni­azi while talking to newsmen said that Imran Khan Niazi is in­dicted in almost seventeen cas­es and we have approached Su­preme Court for his immediate release from the jail. Umair Nia­zi also said that proper facilities not being provided to the for­mer premier.

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