SC forms three-member bench to hear Imran’s plea

ISLAMABAD (PPI): Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a three-member bench to hear a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman against his trial in the Toshakhana case.
Justice Yahya Afridi would head the bench, comprising Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Musarrat Hilali, would hear the plea of the former prime minister on August 2 at 11:30am. A day earlier, the PTI chief again filed the appeal, requesting the apex court to stop proceedings of recording his statement under Section 342 in the case, which was initiated after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found him guilty of not declaring the gifts he had retained from the state depository in his asset declarations.
He said the proceedings should be halted until the Islamabad High Court (IHC) announces its ruling on the jurisdiction of the trial court. He cited a previous decision of the top court that says the jurisdiction of the court must be decided first. This is the second time the PTI chief has moved the apex court against the Toshakhana case. Last week, a two-member bench, headed by Justice Yahya Afridi, had turned down a petition filed by him seeking an order to restrain trial in the Toshakhana case.
The bench had sent the case back to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to re-examine it. The former prime minister had petitioned the apex court against the IHC’s directive to the trial court that had asked for a re-examination of the maintainability of the Toshakhana case within a week. On May 10, the PTI chief was indicted in the case by Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar who dismissed objections to the admissibility of the case.
On July 4, the IHC nullified the decision of the trial court that had turned down the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea challenging the admissibility of the Toshakhana case. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the verdict reserved on June 23 after hearing arguments on the petition of the former prime minister against the trial court’s ruling. The chief justice sent the matter back to the trial court, ordering it to again hear the arguments of the PTI. He gave the trial court seven days to decide the PTI chairman’s plea in the Toshakhana case.
The petition had been filed after the PTI chief was indicted in the case on May 10 – two days after the high court had stopped criminal proceedings in the case. Last year, a reference was filed against him by lawmakers from the ruling coalition accusing him of not sharing the details of gifts he retained from Toshakhana in his assets declarations and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had concluded in October last year that the PTI chief filed false statements regarding the gifts.