Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the trial court’s decision in the Toshakhana case. In the filed plea, the PTI chief’s legal team argued for a total suspension of the trial court’s verdict that convicted Khan, emphasizing the court’s power to ensure justice is served.
The petition claims that the omission in recording certain contentions and their non-inclusion in the subsequent order is a glaring oversight. The argument centres on the claim that this oversight has seriously prejudiced Khan’s rights, as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has since prohibited him from contesting elections.
Further, the petition argues that the ECP acted hastily in disqualifying Khan despite the conviction not being finalized. Accusations of bias against Khan, extending beyond mere disqualification to potential removal as the head of PTI, were also mentioned in the plea. The urgency in the request is palpable, as the petition insists on suspending the verdict for justice to prevail.
In August, the ECP officially disqualified the PTI chairman for five years due to his conviction in the Toshakhana case. The ECP’s notification highlighted Khan’s guilty verdict under corrupt practices and the subsequent three-year sentence.
The Complexities of the Toshakhana Case
What is Toshakhana?
Established in 1974, Toshakhana serves as a depository for valuable gifts received by Pakistani officials from international counterparts. With items ranging from bulletproof vehicles to intricate souvenirs, officials can retain gifts of lesser value or pay a reduced fee for more lavish items.
The Case’s Origin
Allegations arose that Khan, during his tenure as prime minister, purchased gifts from Toshakhana at significantly reduced rates and then sold them in the public market at exorbitant prices. Accusations include profiteering from sales of luxury watches gifted by royalty, with seven notable watches collectively valued at approximately $635,000.
A Timeline of the Toshakhana Case
Various milestones mark the progression of this case:
- October 2022: The electoral body declared Khan guilty of corrupt practices.
- May 10: Khan was indicted by the trial court.
- July 4-8: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) made a series of decisions regarding the case’s maintainability and hearings.
- August 2-5: Several decisions, including witness rejections and jurisdictional reviews, culminated in the trial court convicting Khan.
- August 29: The IHC suspended the trial court’s sentence.
Throughout the proceedings, various claims, including allegations of bias against the presiding judge, were presented, making the case one of Pakistan’s most closely watched legal battles.