The Islamabad High Court (IHC) postponed its verdict on ex-PM Imran Khan’s challenge to his Toshakhana case sentence. The decision, initially anticipated today, is now scheduled for Tuesday, 11am. Imran Khan, now incarcerated in Attock jail, contests the three-year prison term given by an Islamabad district court for the gifts repository case on August 5, 2023. This decision prevents the PTI leader from standing in general elections for the next five years.
Imran’s counsel, Latif Khosa, and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) lawyer, Amjad Pervez, presented their arguments before the IHC. The discussions revolved around the correctness of the complaint’s filing process, the jurisdiction of the court, and references to past verdicts. Khosa also raised concerns about the quick actions taken post-verdict, including Khan’s rapid arrest.
Crux of Legal Arguments
- Khosa highlighted anomalies in the trial, such as the complaint not being filed correctly and not being processed through a magistrate first. He also emphasized that the trial court failed to allow Imran to present defense witnesses and overlooked the IHC’s directives.
- The ECP lawyer argued the necessity of notifying the public prosecutor before proceeding and drew parallels to past verdicts.
- Regarding the trial’s validity, both parties discussed whether a complaint filed under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) needs to be initially handled by a magistrate or can be directly heard by a session court.
Previous Hearing & Noteworthy Observations
During the last hearing on August 25, the PTI’s legal team protested when the ECP lawyer could not attend due to medical reasons. Khosa then outlined several grounds to suspend Imran Khan’s sentence. These include concerns about who is authorized to file complaints against lawmakers, the path a complaint must follow, and errors in the trial court’s process. He further noted an incident where PTI’s lead counsel was reportedly delayed due to an attempt to abduct his clerk, leading to a rapid sequence of events culminating in Khan’s arrest.
In summary, the case’s intricacies revolve around procedure and jurisdiction. With the verdict reserved, many eyes will be on the IHC come Tuesday.