Thursday July 18, 2024

Accountability court indicts Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi in Toshakhana case

Judge Muhammad Bashir conducts hearing of case in Adiala jail

By Shabbir Dar
January 09, 2024
Former prime minister Imran Khan (centre) with his wife Bushra Bibi (left) arrive to appear at a high court in Lahore on May 15, 2023. — AFP
Former prime minister Imran Khan (centre) with his wife Bushra Bibi (left) arrive to appear at a high court in Lahore on May 15, 2023. — AFP

RAWALPINDI: Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Tuesday were indicted by an accountability court in Rawalpindi in the Toshakhana case. 

The decision was announced during a hearing in the case today which was conducted in Adiala jail — where the former prime minister is currently incarcerated in the case.

A five-member special prosecution team of the anti-graft watchdog perused the reference against the duo.

Accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted the hearing of Toshakhana and £190 million cases in the prison.

A day earlier, the court deferred the indictment of the former prime minister and his wife after the latter failed to appear before the court.

During the hearing today, NAB prosecutor Muzaffar Abbasi along with his team was present in the court. Khan was represented by his lawyers Latif Khosa and Umair Niazi.

Bushra Bibi was also provided with a copy of the £190 million case today.

Meanwhile, the former premier has challenged his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan and comprising Justice Shams Mehmood, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Jawad Hassan will take up the petitions on January 12 (Friday). 

What is the Toshakhana case?

Under the rules governing Toshakhana — a Persian word meaning "treasure house" — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana has been under a microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Imran Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.

The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000).

The election commission's order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.