SC Awaits IHC Order on PTI Chief’s Toshakhana Appeal


The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial announced on Wednesday that the Supreme Court would wait for the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order on PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s appeal before getting involved in the Toshakhana case. However, CJP Bandial noted that there were some shortcomings in the trial court’s verdict.

On August 5, a trial court in Islamabad found Imran Khan guilty of “corrupt practices” related to concealing details of state gifts and sentenced him to three years in prison, making him disqualified from running in general elections for the next five years. Imran Khan then approached the IHC against his conviction and sentence, and the high court adjourned the case until tomorrow (August 24).

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, featuring CJP Bandial, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, heard a petition filed by Imran Khan challenging the IHC’s order to remand the case back to the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Humayun Dilawar who convicted the former prime minister.

During the hearing, the court listened to arguments presented by Imran Khan’s lawyer, Latif Khosa, and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) counsel, Amjad Pervaiz. After hearing both sides, CJP Bandial stated that they would not interfere in the Toshakhana case that day, but would wait for the IHC hearing and then continue the proceedings accordingly.

The Hearing

At the start of the hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Latif Khosa, mentioned that they had filed three petitions against the IHC’s orders in the Supreme Court. He explained that Imran Khan was elected as a member of the National Assembly in 2018 and the Election Act required all members to submit details of their assets. Six members of the National Assembly filed a reference with the speaker, seeking Imran Khan’s disqualification, accusing him of submitting incorrect asset declarations.

The lawyer argued that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could only conduct an inquiry within 120 days and questioned whether one member of the National Assembly could send a reference against another member. Khosa pointed out that the reference against Imran Khan was sent after the required 120-day period.

In response, Justice Mandokhel clarified that the petitioner’s case was against the IHC’s order, not the legality of the reference against Imran Khan. He also raised the question of who could be remanded now that the trial court case was over and how it would impact the main appeal against the conviction.

Khosa argued that the court would have to go back to the previous position regarding the case, but CJP Bandial commented that a building constructed on a faulty foundation cannot be demolished every time. He also asked if the petitioner’s argument was that the ECP’s complaint in the trial court was not maintainable.

During the hearing, Imran Khan’s appeal was filed through Advocate Khawaja Haris Ahmed, requesting the Supreme Court to suspend the proceedings in the trial court. The appeal claimed that the IHC Chief Justice had misconstrued the submission made by the counsel and remanded the case back to the trial judge without allowing separate arguments on the transfer of the case. It also argued that the high court’s judgment was in breach of the petitioner’s fundamental rights.

In addition, Imran Khan filed a petition earlier in the morning seeking the transfer of all cases involving him before the IHC to the high courts in Lahore or Peshawar, claiming bias on the part of the IHC CJ.

The Toshakhana Case

The Toshakhana case was filed by lawmakers from the ruling party based on a criminal complaint filed by the ECP. The complainant alleged that Imran Khan had deliberately concealed details of gifts he received from the Toshakhana during his tenure as prime minister and the proceeds from their reported sales.

According to Toshakhana rules, gifts and other materials received by relevant individuals must be reported to the Cabinet Division. Imran Khan faced legal issues over the retention of gifts and was disqualified by the ECP under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

The ECP approached the Islamabad sessions court with a copy of the complaint, seeking criminal proceedings against Imran Khan for misleading officials about the gifts. Imran Khan was indicted in the case but the proceedings were stayed by the Islamabad High Court, which directed the judge to re-examine the matter considering several legal questions.

However, the trial court eventually revived the proceedings and convicted Imran Khan after the IHC gave a short breather and asked the judge to re-examine the jurisdiction and procedural lapses in the filing of the complaint by the ECP.

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