close
Monday April 15, 2024

Iddat case: Court accepts Imran, Bushra’s pleas against conviction

He requested that the hearing of the case should be adjourned for some time, and his plea was accepted

By Khalid Iqbal
March 01, 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

ISLAMABAD. District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand has issued notices to the parties, while accepting appeals of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi against their conviction in the Nikah-in-iddat case.

Ghulam Sabir Malik, assistant of Salman Akram Raja, counsel for the former first couple, appeared in the court stated that Salman Raja was busy in the Supreme Court, and he would reach the court at 12:30p.m. He requested that the hearing of the case should be adjourned for some time, and his plea was accepted.

Later on, when the hearing resumed, Salman Raja, Usman Riaz Gul, Khalid Yusuf Chaudhry and others appeared in the court, while the prosecutor Rana Hassan Abbas also appeared in the court. Salman Akram Raja stated that the court had called him for preliminary arguments in the appeals against conviction in the Iddat marriage case. The case was tried under Section 496 of the Pakistan Penal Code; Section 496B was also imposed, which was later deleted. It was alleged in the FIR that Khawar Manika divorced Bushra Bibi in 2017. Forty-eight days later, the PTI founder and Bushra Bibi got married while the mandatory iddat period had not completed yet.

Bushra Bibi was charged under Section 496 [fraudulent marriage] which carries punishment of seven-year jail term. According to the FIR, the marriage ceremony took place in Lahore on January 1, 2018. If the marriage ceremony took place in Lahore, then how the case was filed in Islamabad. An application was filed by Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi, challenging the jurisdiction of the case. However, the hearing has not been conducted so far.

Considering the jurisdiction, the trial court should not have made Khawar Manika’s complaint admissible, the application added. Bushra was divorced in April 2017. Till August, Bushra stayed with Khawar Manika. From April 2017 to January 1, 2018, there was a period of eight to nine months, the application added.

Defence lawyer Usman Riaz Gul stated that the trial court said that the accused failed to prove themselves innocent. According to the higher court decision, a marriage could be solemnised after 39 days. Bushra Bibi and the PTI founder got married after about 70 days, the counsel stated. According to the law, such personal matters should always be kept private. Cases like Iddat Nikah were used to take political revenge. Such cases should not be filed, added the application.

Bushra Bibi said she had gone to her mother’s house after completing her iddat period. Khawar Manika had admitted before the media that Bushra Bibi was a religious woman. Almost six years later, he filed a complaint against Bushra Bibi about Nikah during the iddat period.

After the arguments, the court declared the appeals admissible and adjourned the hearing till March 11, issuing notices to the parties.