Imran Khan, Khawaja Asif fined for wasting court’s time

Published January 29, 2023
This combination photo shows Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and PML-N leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif (R). — RT screengrab/Reuters
This combination photo shows Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and PML-N leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif (R). — RT screengrab/Reuters

ISLAMABAD: A local court has imposed Rs10,000 fine each on former premier Imran Khan and incumbent Defence Minister Khawaja Asif for delaying the proceeding of Rs10 billion damages suit moved by the PTI chief against the latter for hurling allegations against financial affairs of Shaukat Khanam Memorial Trust.

Mr Khan was scheduled to join the court proceeding through a video link on Saturday when the defence counsel was supposed to conclude his cross-examination.

Additional district and sessions judge Umeed Ali Baloch when resumed the proceeding, the counsel for the defence minister Haider Rasool was not present in the courtroom.

His associate lawyer informed the court that Advocate Rasool was supposed to attend marriage ceremony of the niece of Khawaja Asif and sought to adjourn the proceeding.

Mr Khan, on the other hand, did not join the proceeding through a video link.

PTI chief moved Rs10bn suit against defence minister for allegedly defaming SKMT in 2012

Judge Baloch remarked that under the law, this case was supposed to be decided within 90 days, but it could have not been concluded even after 11 years just because of the delaying tactics.

He pointed out that the Islamabad High Court had also held both the parties responsible for causing delay.

Subsequently, the court imposed Rs10,000 fine on both the plaintiff and respondent and adjourned further proceeding till Feb 11.

Mr Khan had filed the defamation suit against Khawaja Asif in 2012 for recovery of Rs10 billion, as the latter while addressing a press conference had levelled allegations about misappropriation of and money laundering through the SKMT funds.

In his suit, the PTI chief referred to the August 1, 2012 presser during which the PML-N stalwart had alleged that Mr Khan had lost in ‘real estate gambling’ a huge amount of fund donated to the SKMT in the form of Zakat, Fitrana or other kinds of donations.

The former prime minister, while recording his statement earlier in January 2022 before the digitally connected court, said he was the biggest individual donor of the SKMT from 1991 to 2009 and the investments, against which allegations had been made, were fully recovered by the SKMT without any loss.

Mr Khan said fabricated and baseless allegations were made to undermine people’s confidence in the SKMT.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023

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