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Tuesday April 16, 2024

IHC suspends Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi’s sentences in Toshakhana case

Justice Aamir Farooq of IHC heard the case and fixed the hearing of main appeal after Eid holiday.

By Awaid Yousafzai
April 01, 2024
Imran Khan (right), along with his wife Bushra Bibi (left), looks on as she signs surety bonds for bail in various cases, at a registrar office in the Lahore High Court on July 17, 2023. — AFP
Imran Khan (right), along with his wife Bushra Bibi (left), looks on as she signs surety bonds for bail in various cases, at a registrar office in the Lahore High Court on July 17, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday granted relief to former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi, suspending their sentences in Toshakhana case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said appeal against the conviction would be fixed for hearing after Eid holidays.

Accountability court's Judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced Khan and Bushra to 14 years in prison with rigorous punishment in the Toshakhana reference in January.

The judge had also disqualified the former prime minister for 10 years while handing over a fine of Rs1.57 billion — Rs787 million each — to the couple.

Khan had told the court that his wife had nothing to do with the case and was being humiliated by being forcibly dragged into it.

IHC CJ Farooq, during the hearing, said the cipher case would be completed in a few days. “Also, we cannot fix the Toshakhana case for hearing the very next day after holding a hearing on it today.”

He said the cypher case was fixed for hearing the next day.

The court said arguments of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had to begin in the cipher case and he did not know how long it would take. Hence, the Toshakhana case is being postponed till after Eid. 

The couple was also sentenced to seven years in prison each in the case pertaining to their illegal marriage on February 1. Earlier on January 30, a court had sentenced Khan and PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi to 10 years’ imprisonment in the cipher case.

All these back to back verdicts had come against Khan a few days prior to the February 8 general elections.

Toshakhana reference

NAB had on December 19, 2023, filed the Toshakhana reference against the ex-prime minister and ex-first lady for retaining the Graff Jewelery set gifted by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia during the couple’s visit to Riyadh. They were alleged to have retained the gift without due assessment.

The gift was reported to Toshakhana by the deputy military secretary but was not deposited for a transparent assessment. According to the reference, Bushra, in connivance with accused Khan, violated the Clause-1 of the Toshakhana procedure by not depositing the gift before retention.

Acting in connivance, both the accused, the reference alleges, exercised undue influence on Sohaib Abbasi, private appraiser (approver in the reference) through Syed Inam Ullah Shah (former PS/ Comptroller to Imran Khan/ PM’s Office) to illegally undervalue the assessment of Graff Jewelery set of their own choice and illegally retained it against a meagre payment of Rs9.031 million (approx.) based on undervalued price assessment of Rs18,092,000.

In the light of the evidence, the reference established that the assessment by Abbasi, private appraiser (approver), and government appraiser was highly undervalued.