Toshakhana Case: IHC Chief Questions Trial Court; Hearing Rescheduled Monday
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) deferred the hearing of a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, seeking to suspend his three-year jail term in the Toshakhana case. The adjournment was granted at the request of the Election Commission’s lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz.
Amjad Pervaiz’s assistant informed the court that due to illness, they hadn’t sought an adjournment in the last eight months. Justice Aamer Farooq mentioned that the petition for suspension of sentence was at its final stage, with arguments planned to be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. He added that the case could have been postponed until Monday but wasn’t. The Chief Justice cautioned that if no one appeared, they would proceed with a decision.
Subsequently, the court accepted the plea for adjournment made by Election Commission’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz Advocate and postponed the hearing until Monday. The appeal against PTI chairman’s conviction in the Toshakhana case was being heard by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri.
In the previous hearing, Latif Khosa presented arguments on appeals for suspension of sentence and bail, with Election Commission’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz scheduled to present further arguments on that day.
The Supreme Court had halted proceedings in the Toshakhana case until the decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was reached.
During the Thursday hearing, PTI chairman’s lawyer, Latif Khosa, argued before an IHC division bench, including Chief Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, focusing on aspects like Imran Khan’s release due to the short sentence, procedural flaws, and improper permission by the Election Commission.
Imran Khan’s lawyer contended that appellate courts could suspend such a brief sentence without assessing the case’s merits. Latif Khosa stated that President Dr. Arif Alvi had waived sentences for prisoners on August 14, leading to a reduction of Imran Khan’s three-year sentence by six months.
According to the lawyer, Imran Khan’s jail term was now two and a half years, which the Islamabad High Court could suspend. The trial court had not examined the jurisdiction of the Election Commission’s complaint.
Khosa highlighted jurisdictional gaps in the complaint, noting that the Election Commission had to authorize an officer to file a reference. However, the District Election Commissioner was empowered by the Election Commission’s Secretary to lodge a complaint.
Khosa further argued that Article 218 defined the Election Commission, which implied that the Commission comprised the Chief Election Commissioner and ECP members. Instead, the Secretary authorized an officer, which rendered the complaint without proper permission.
Regarding the trial court’s judgment, Khosa said the judge “disregarded the directions of the Islamabad High Court and sentenced Imran Khan without reviewing the jurisdiction and maintainability of the complaint.” The Supreme Court also noted that the verdict was delivered hastily.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that additional district and sessions judge Humayun Dilawar, who issued the verdict, would handle the administrative aspect. Following this, Latif Khosa took the matter to the Supreme Court, where the petition concerning Imran Khan was scheduled for 2 pm.
The Supreme Court adjourned the case without any proceedings, stating that the issue remained pending in the Islamabad High Court.
The Supreme Court requested the Attorney General’s Office to furnish an official report on the facilities provided to PTI chief Imran Khan in Attock Jail.
In courtroom number one, the elder sisters of the former prime minister Aleema Khan and Dr. Uzma Khan were present, along with senior lawyers from the Election Commission.
The Islamabad High Court adjourned the hearing until Friday, awaiting the high court’s final decision.
Justice Jamal Khan Mandukhel emphasized the independence of high courts and civil courts, stating they were not subordinate to the Supreme Court. He stressed the importance of mutual respect between the bench and the bar.