Court reserves ruling in Iddat case

The court will announce the judgment on May 29

By Khalid Iqbal & Mumtaz Alvi
May 24, 2024
PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi arrive at the Lahore High Court on July 17, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD. District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand Thursday reserved judgment on the appeals challenging the sentences of former prime minister and PTI founder chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Iddat case. The court will announce the judgment on May 29.


PTI counsel Usman Riaz Gul and assistant counsel for Khawar Maneka’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi appeared before the court. As the hearing began, the assistant counsel informed the court that Abbasi had to present arguments but the record was not available.

The judge then asked the PTI lawyer to finalise arguments and also directed Maneka’s assistant counsel to inform Abbasi that he had to present his arguments via video link by 1pm. During the hearing, PTI lawyer Usman Riaz Gul contended that the case was initiated solely for political motives, emphasizing delayed filing of Maneka’s complaint after nearly six years evidenced his malicious intent. He asserted that determining the validity of marriage fell in the jurisdiction of the family court and not the criminal court. Additionally, he said Bushra’s statement under Section 342 indicated that she underwent divorce in April 2017 and remarried after completing the iddat.

Deputy district prosecutor Adnan Ali urged for maintaining the conviction, asserting that there was no legal provision exempting such cases from criminal prosecution. He said the complainant did not seek annulment of the marriage, but rather sought punishment for marrying during the iddat.

The prosecutor also claimed that the PTI founder’s repeated interference in Maneka and Bushra’s lives resulted in their separation. On April 30, a district and sessions court rejected Maneka’s plea seeking transfer of the iddat case to another court.

Maneka’s plea cited lack of trust in the presiding judge, Shahrukh Arjumand, for seeking the transfer. “The court has a favourable attitude towards the PTI, so I request that my case be transferred to another court,” said Maneka as the proceedings commenced. However, Judge Arjumand disagreed with Maneka and said he had never lost trust as a judge during his career.

The lawyers representing Imran and Bushra had already expressed dissatisfaction earlier with what they claim are the “delaying tactics” of Khawar Maneka’s lead counsel, as well as a court decision to postpone the iddat case. Maneka, Bushra’s former husband, filed a case against the couple in November 2023, alleging that the former PM and first lady had married without Bushra observing the iddat.

On February 3, 2024, a trial court sentenced Imran and Bushra to seven years in prison each for contracting the marriage during iddat. The PTI founder and his wife subsequently challenged the order in the district and sessions court, Islamabad.

Meanwhile, PTI-aligned religious scholars Thursday were unanimous on the point that the Iddat case framed against the PTI founder chairman Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi was fabricated and politically motivated and contrary to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.

In a joint video statement issued here, religious scholars including Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) Secretary-General Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and Sahibzada Hamid Raza, the Chairman of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), said that after consulting religious scholars belonging to all schools of thought, they have concluded that the Iddat case is a politically motivated conspiracy devoid of any religious, legal, or moral basis.

A district and sessions court in Islamabad reserved its judgment on appeals against the sentences of PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Iddat and Nikkah case. The court is expected to pronounce its judgment on May 29.

Pir Qadri emphasised that in matters of Iddat, a woman’s testimony is considered credible and sufficient and therefore, it should be respected. Objecting to the legal proceedings, the former minister said “What kind of law is this, where a woman was testifying about her Iddat but charges are framed against her and witnesses are being produced,” he wondered.

MWM Chairman Allama Senator Nasir Abbas said that the judiciary should not interfere in such sensitive religious affairs.

He insisted that political differences should not lead to vendettas and that all scholars must unite against such conspiracies, which aim to exploit religious sentiments for political gain.

Chairman of the Sunni Ittehad Council MNA Sahibzada Hamid Raza said this was not their personal view but they have reached the conclusion, after lengthy deliberation with scholars of different schools of thought.