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Monday May 27, 2024

Toshakhana case: Islamabad court to indict Imran Khan on Feb 7

Imran Khan is facing charges of allegedly indulging in corrupt practices related to state gift depository

By Awais Yusafzai
January 31, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/File
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A local court in the federal capital on Tuesday decided to indict Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the controversial Toshakhana case.

The former prime minister — who is facing a scandal regarding the Toshakhana gifts for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices, which he denies — will be indicted on February 7.

As per the ECP's reference, Khan can be sentenced to three-year imprisonment and fined heavily if proven guilty.

Today's hearing

The hearing was presided over by Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal, who directed the PTI chairman to submit surety bonds of Rs20,000 to ensure his presence before the court. 

The court had exempted Khan from the proceedings at the last hearing, but ordered him to ensure his presence at this hearing. However, Khan still didn't appear today.

At the outset of the hearing, the judge inquired Khan’s counsel Ali Bukhari about his client’s power of attorney.

However, the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) lawyer contended before the court that power of attorney cannot be submitted till Imran Khan appears in person, and urged the court to issue arrest warrants for the former prime minister.

Meanwhile, Bukhari told the judge that they had submitted the medical certificate of their client in the last hearing. He also added that Barrister Ali Gohar, the senior counsel for the PTI chief, was coming to the court in five minutes.

At this, the court ordered Bukhari to submit the power of attorney by today.

But the ECP’s lawyer once again told the court that Khan’s lawyer cannot submit the power of attorney till they submit surety bonds for ensuring the PTI chief’s presence in court.

The ECP counsel then urged the court to issue arrest warrants for the PTI chief for his failure to appear in court.

However, the court rejected the commission’s request but directed the PTI chief to submit surety bonds of Rs20,000 to ensure his presence in the next hearing.

A timeline of Toshakhana case

In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking former prime minister Imran Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana scam.

On October 22, the Election Commission found the former prime minister guilty of submitting “false statements and an incorrect declaration” in his nomination papers and disqualified him.

Exactly a month after the disqualification verdict, an Islamabad court sent a notice to the PTI chief after receiving the Toshakhana reference from ECP, which marked the beginning of a trial against Imran Khan.

In the reference, the electoral body said that Khan “deliberately concealed facts" and submitted a false declaration of his assets and liabilities.

The court sent another notice to Khan on December 15, notifying him about initiating criminal proceedings against him for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices, on January 9.

However, the PTI chairman has been consistently absent from the hearings throughout and failed to appear before the court on January 9 as well.