Toshakhana case: PTI chief gets one-day exemption from hearing

ISLAMABAD (INP): A session’s court in Islamabad on Thursday accepted PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s plea for personal exemption from the Toshakhana case hearing, ordering his appearance before the court tomorrow (Friday).
According to media reports, the court granted an exemption to the former premier after his counsel Gohar Ali Khan told Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar that his client was due to appear before the Lahore High Court and requested the court to fix any date for hearing after July 10. Despite the request for extended exemption, the court granted PTI chief Imran Khan a day-long exemption while instructing his counsel to ensure the former prime minister’s presence in court the following day.
The sessions court took up the case on Thursday a couple of days after the Islamabad High Chief Justice Aamer Farooq overturned the ruling of the local court against Imran’s challenge to the maintainability of the Toshakhana case and remanded the case back to the trial court to re-examine the matter within seven days. The IHC chief justice also asked the sessions court to keep in view eight legal questions he framed to decide maintainability of the reference, based on an ECP complaint for concealing state gifts.
The questions included “whether the complaint has been filed on behalf of ECP by a duly authorised person”, “whether the decision of ECP dated 21.10.2022 is a valid authorisation to any officer of ECP to file a complaint”, “whether the question of authorisation is a question of fact and evidence and can be ratified subsequently during course of proceedings.” The other questions framed for the trial court judge are related to technicalities. In his verdict, the IHC chief justice had observed that the trial court judge did not address these questions and dealt with this case in a “very cursory and shoddy manner”.
At the outset of the hearing, Gohar, Imran’s counsel, expressed his surprise at the case being fixed for today, saying it was originally scheduled for July 8. “We were not aware that the case has been fixed today,” he said. The judge referred to PTI lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat’s earlier remarks that Khawaja Haris was also supposed to appear. However, Gohar clarified that he was representing Haris in court today.
The judge questioned the lack of coordination between the two counsels. He stated that although he could grant exemptions from appearance on July 7 and 8 also, he emphasised the need to reach a decision in the case by July 10 and asked the counsel to present arguments.
During the proceedings, Amjad Parvez, the lawyer representing the Election Commission of Pakistan, highlighted that the PTI chief had already “enjoyed” a 45-day stay granted by the IHC. He noted that they were now back to where they started seven months ago.