Toshakhana case: Court rejects ECP’s plea to allow five witnesses against Imran

A collage of Toshakhana gifts reportedly sold by former PM Imran Khan. — GeoNews/File

ISLAMABAD: The Additional District and Sessions Judge Islamabad Humayun Dilawar has rejected the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s plea to allow five witnesses to testify against former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a criminal complaint over concealing details of Toshakhana gifts.jordan 4s cheap custom jerseys football nike air max 95s custom jerseys football nfl shop jordan nike air official nfl shop nike men’s air jordan 1 mid stores nike air max sale outlet sex toy stores customize jersey baseball wigs for sale nike air max 97 custom mlb jerseys sex toy store

The court has rejected the commission’s request after accepting the objections raised by Imran’s lawyer on the ECP counsel’s arguments here on Monday. The court also granted Imran’s exemption from attending Monday’s hearing and adjourned further proceeding till Tuesday (today).

Initially, the hearing was adjourned till 12:30pm as Imran’s legal team had informed the court that the former premier’s counsel, Advocate Khawaja Haris, was busy at the Islamabad High Court (IHC). When the hearing resumed after arrival of Haris, ECP counsel Saad Hasan appeared in the court, as well as Imran’s legal team comprising Mirza Asim, Khalid Yousuf and Sardar Masroof.

Imran’s lawyer then requested the court to adjourn the hearing, at which the court warned that he would announce the verdict if the lawyer would not present his arguments on allowing five more witnesses to testify against Imran. The ECP lawyer then informed the court that Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, who was supposed to present the arguments on behalf of the ECP, was in Lahore due to prior commitments.

Hasan proceeded to request the court to record the testimonies of the two witnesses who were present at the hearing. To this, the court said, “The hearing of the trial has to begin today. Amjad Pervaiz was given today’s date for initiating the trial proceedings.”

Imran’s lawyer also informed the court that the matter was also pending before the Islamabad High Court where Imran has filed a plea challenging the trial court’s decision of declaring the Toshakhana reference against him maintainable.

Noting that the trial proceedings were initiated by the ECP, he requested the court to hear the commission’s arguments first and that the hearing be adjourned till Wednesday (July 19). “We do not know what the Islamabad High Court will decide,” Advocate Haris said, adding that IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq had been unwell for the past week.

Addressing the ECP lawyer, the judge remarked that it was the third time that a request to adjourn the hearing was made. “Whether anyone presents their argument or not, I will announce the verdict without hearing them,” he warned the lawyers. The judge recalled that he had adjourned the hearing twice already at the request of the ECP and stated that no such request would be entertained anymore.

Advocate Hasan then sought half-an-hour to confirm with Advocate Pervaiz if he could present the arguments. The judge reiterated that Pervaiz had made a commitment to the court that he would present his arguments.

Advocate Hasan informed the court that the ECP’s legal team would inform the court about the situation by 2pm, to which the judge responded that he would announce a verdict if arguments were not made. When the hearing resumed once again, ECP lawyer Advocate Hasan began presenting his arguments. He informed the court that there was a bank account under the name of Imran and his wife, Bushra Bibi, in Bank Al Falah. Hasan further clarified that the documents that the ECP submitted with its plea were already with the court and no new documents were being submitted.

He said former secretary (admin) Arshad Mehmood and former deputy secretary (coordination) Faisal Tehseen were among the witnesses.

He asserted that there was no incorrect legal aspect in seeking the inclusion of more witnesses and its purpose was to satisfy the court further. The prosecutor also requested the court to accept the ECP’s plea, saying that Imran had admitted to transferring Toshakhana money into his bank account.

At this, Advocate Haris raised an objection to the prosecutor’s arguments in a private complaint, to which the ECP’s Advocate Hasan replied that the prosecutor was legally allowed to present their arguments in any court. He asserted that it was not written anywhere that the prosecutor could not make arguments in a private complaint, adding that they could not appear in favour of any respondent.

Advocate Haris then raised the question of how a private petitioner could take the help of a public prosecutor and if the provincial government had appointed a prosecutor to the ECP. “Has the Toshakhana case become a state complaint from a private complaint?” he asked. Hasan expressed his disappointment that “a public prosecutor was presenting arguments for the ECP.” He mentioned an amendment to the law, according to which, he said, the prosecutor could only present arguments in cases where the petitioner was the police.

When Advocate Haris asked the court to imagine a scenario where the ECP appointed Advocate Pervaiz as their counsel after appointing Hasan, the judge asked if he also objected to the power of attorney given to Pervaiz. At this, the PTI lawyer replied sarcastically, “I do not even know what is happening in the Toshakhana case.” Raising an objection to the ECP lawyers, he said, “Such things should have been mentioned in the notices sent to me.”

When Haris contended that only one counsel is supposed to present the arguments in court, the judge Dilawar replied, “Barrister Gohar Ali Khan also presented arguments from your side.” “Kindly do not misrepresent the facts. We do not misrepresent matters. Gohar Ali Khan does not present arguments,” Haris argued back.

At that, the judge said, “Do you mean the court is misrepresenting facts? “Set everything aside. Is the ECP plea on witnesses maintainable or not? Present your arguments.” At this, the lawyer asserted that the ECP has to include the witnesses’ names in the copy of the complaint filed, noting that only the names of two witnesses had been included in it.

Advocate Haris further said that the case was in its initial stages at the moment whereas witness testimonies had to be recorded before the suspect was indicted.

Remarking that the petitioner forgot to include the name of five witnesses, the lawyer requested the court to adjourn the hearing till Wednesday. He mentioned that the matter was pending before the IHC, to which the judge replied that the verdict from there would be considered accordingly when it was issued. “I guarantee that PTI chairman will come to the court that day,” Haris assured.

Subsequently, the judge directed Imran’s counsels to submit a plea seeking Imran’s exemption from the hearing. Upon the plea being filed, the court granted Imran exemption from appearing. The court also dismissed the ECP’s plea to record testimonies of further witnesses, accepting Haris’ objections and observing that the prosecutor could not present arguments in the case. It summoned the two witnesses in the case to record their testimonies the next day.

Meanwhile, former prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan skipped his appearance before the Combined Investigation Team (CIT) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi to collect an inquiry report in Toshakhana case in person and sought a fresh date of July 19 for his appearance before the NAB Rawalpindi.

According to sources, Imran Khan did not appear before the CIT of NAB Rawalpindi probing Toshakhana case to collect the inquiry report with writing a letter for his inability to appear before the NAB Rawalpindi seeking date of July 19 for his appearance to collect the inquiry report in Toshakhana case.

The NAB has converted the inquiry into Toshakhana case against Imran Khan into Investigation and has summoned him on Monday (July 17) to appear before the CIT of the NAB Rawalpindi to collect the inquiry report against him.

Sources said PTI chairman his written reply to the NAB Rawalpindi and cited the security concerns for travelling towards Islamabad, saying that that he seldom travels towards Islamabad only for court cases due to security reasons but he was scheduled to attend the courts proceedings in Islamabad on July 19 and he may come to NAB to collect the inquiry report.

In his written reply, sources said PTI chairman has request to handover the inquiry report to his lawyer.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday directed former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to remove the objections raised by the registrar office to his petition against the trial court’s decision to declare the Toshakhana criminal proceedings as admissible.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition with objections. He remarked that time has changed, values have changed but we still have old values.

The judge remarked that maybe in such cases stakes are high as these are political issues.

PTI lawyer Khawaja Haris told the judge that their case is in the trial court. He said the case should not go before the same judge. He requested the court for instant hearing of the case.

The chief justice, however, said that the court could not hear his case but it would take it on Tuesday.

Khawaja Haris said that their transfer application is also pending in this court. The court directed PTI chairman to remove the objections of the registrar office.

Meanwhile, Judge of civil court Islamabad Qudratullah reserved the decision on the admissibility of the petition in the case related to the alleged marriage between PTI chairman Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi.

During the hearing on Monday, the lawyer of the petitioner Rizwan Abbasi appeared in the court and gave further arguments that the marriage of PTI chairman with Bushra Bibi took place during Iddat. He said that at the time of marriage Bushra Bibi’s Iddat was not completed.

According to the law, the petition can be heard in any city of Islamabad and Lahore. Rizwan Abbasi, the lawyer of the petitioner, referred to the decisions of different courts during the arguments.

He requested to make the illegal marriage case against PTI admissible. After hearing the arguments, the court reserved the decision.