Judge refuses to announce verdict after Maneka assaulted in court

Bushra Bibi’s ex-husband uses strong language against ex-PM Imran Khan n Judge asks IHC to transfer case to another court

Appeals against convictions in Iddat case.

ISLAMABAD   -   A group of lawyers reportedly belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday assaulted Khawar Maneka, the former husband of Bushra Bibi and complainant in the Iddat case, in the premises of the District and Sessions Court, Islamabad.

Khawar Maneka appeared before the court of Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, which was scheduled to pronounce the verdict, which had been reserved on May 23, in the appeals of PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi against their conviction in the ‘unlawful marriage’ case.

During the hearing, a woman hurled a bottle at Khawar Maneka after he allegedly made derogatory remarks, and later he was manhandled by the PTI lawyers outside of the court. He was rescued by his companions.

The court, however, did meet for a final time under Judge Shahrukh Arjumand and the proceedings proved to be unusually eventful with PTI lawyers exchanging strong words with and throwing bottles at the complainant Khawar Maneka.

Session Judge (East) Shahrukh Arjumand wrote a letter to the Registrar, of Islamabad High Court after complainant Khawar Maneka expressed his distrust on him for the second time in one month during the proceedings of appeal against the conviction of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were convicted of 7 years imprisonment and Rs. 0.5 million fine each on February 3rd, 2023 in back-to-back convictions just less than a week before General Elections 2024 in a hasty jail trial.

In the last hearing of appeals, Judge Shahrukh Arjumand wrote in the order that the court order would be announced on May 29th, and Adv. Raja Rizwan Abbasi can submit his remaining arguments verbally at 09:00 am or he can submit written arguments as well.

The court was told at 09:00 am on Wednesday by Aimal Khan, an associate of Rizwan Abbasi that he was busy at the High Court and would submit his arguments at 10:30 am. When Abbasi started his arguments within a couple of minutes complainant who is also the former husband of Buhsra Bibi entered the courtroom, went to the rostrum, and requested to judge to give him 10 minutes to speak.

The hearing was attended by PTI Central leadership including Barrister Gohar, Omar Ayub, Shibli Faraz, Ali Muhammad Khan, Faisal Javeed Khan, Kanwal Shozab, Mishal Yousafzai, and others. There was a huge number of PTI women supporters as well as lawyers of PTI in the courtroom. The courtroom was overcrowded.

Khawar Maneka started his arguments by saying that, he’s from a village and has brought a couple of local lawyers to the court as well. He said he’s been getting complaints regularly that some married women have married someone else and someone’s daughter has run away with someone. He said this is all happening because of social media and people are following the revolutionary leader of Pakistan.

He further argued that Zulfiqar Bukhari and Jahangir Khan Tareen told him about the marriage of Imran Khan with Bushra BiBi and he still has those messages. He said he found out about divorce on January 31st, 2018 and he also told his kids in mid-February 2018 that Nikah would be solemnized soon and that happened. He also argued that he found out about January 1st Nikah while he was in jail. He said my mother got hospitalised and passed away in one month. He argued that it was his mistake to allow Imran Khan to get inside his house for Allah but he had other motives.

After his long arguments he showed mistrust over Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, he said my daughters have been setting up their bedroom in Bani Gala because they think their mother will be released today. He also mentioned an article where some religious figures mentioned that Nikah can be done during Iddat. He told the judge that, I know you’ve made up your mind, and I don’t trust this court anymore. He said he has left his decision on the almighty and he has no faith in the judiciary. He further said I’ve never taken any advantage during 4 years of PTI government. He mentioned that Parvez Elahi visited his house and told him to make a prayer so his son Moonis Elahi becomes Chief Minister of Punjab.

Judge Shahrukh Arjumand told him that you’ve shown your mistrust earlier too in this court, do you have any concrete evidence regarding the mistrust? Maybe during the trial, the other party had a distrust of the court, there are always speculations about the courts during the trial but there must be concrete evidence for the mistrust, said Judge Arjumand. Judge Arjumand remarked you should consult with your lawyer for 5 minutes and then return and tell me what you want, Rizwan Abbasi has known me for 12 years.

Khawar Maneka told the Judge that, Abbasi is a good man, I don’t want to consult with him, I just want you to transfer the case to some other court. Usman Gill, attorney of Bushra Bibi argued before the court that, this man has been given sufficient time and we want you to write in a court order today that he has also argued. Gill further argued that courts are run by law not by emotions. Today was the announcement of judgment on appeals, he said.

Judge Shahrukh Arjumand remarked that they’ve put an objection on me a second time and whatever judgment I announce will be controversial now and only Islamabad High Court can appoint a new judge. Judge Arjumand left the courtroom after that and went to his Chamber.

Meanwhile, there was continuous heckling and shouting in the courtroom. PTI worker threw bottles at Khawar Maneka while he was leaving the courtroom and one of the lawyers of PTI beat up Khawar Maneka in the court premises while he was leaving.

After 15 minutes a letter was written to Registrar Islamabad High Court by Judge Shahrukh Arjumand in which he requested to transfer the case to some other judge because objection has been raised on him. The letter further stated that complainant and his counsel always tried to frustrate and delay the proceedings on one pretext or other therefore time frame may be fixed for disposal of appeals.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and Senator Barrister Syed Ali Zafar denied the involvement of PTI lawyers in the attack on Khawar Maneka within the court premises.

Speaking during a talk show on Wednesday, Barrister Ali Zafar stated that the lawyers involved in the attack were not among those he knows from the PTI. He emphasised that no lawyer has the right to physically assault anyone.

Barrister Zafar demanded that the licenses of those involved in the incident should be revoked. Regarding the clarification provided by PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan on the tweets from Imran Khan’s account, Zafar stated, “Since the tweets have been happening, they have been from Imran Khan’s account and he approves them.”

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