ISLAMABAD: PTI chief Imran Khan appro­a­ched the Supreme Court on Thurs­day to challenge the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) July 4 remand to a trial court for re-examination of the maintainability of the Toshakhana case within a week.

Moved through senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad, a petition filed by the former prime minister requested the apex court to set aside the IHC directive. He also sought a stay on the proceedings before Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Islamabad, Hamayun Dilawar, until a decision on his appeal by the Supreme Court.

On Oct 21 last year, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

And on May 10 this year, the trial court rejected Imran Khan’s challenge to the maintainability of the Toshakhana reference and indicted him in the case.

The trial court’s decision was challenged before the IHC, which remanded the case back to the former on July 4 to re-examine the matter in seven days in the light of eight legal questions to decide maintainability of the reference.

The questions included “whether the complaint has been filed on behalf of ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) by a duly authorised person”, “whether the Oct 21, 2022, ECP decision was a valid authorisation to any officer of ECP to file a complaint,” “whether the question of authorisation was a question of fact and evidence and can be ratified subsequently during course of proceedings”.

The fresh petition, brought by Imran Khan before the apex court on Thursday, argued that the IHC was not legally justified in remanding the same questions of law that formed the basis of the impugned order for re-determination by the same trial judge who had already given his judgement.

Moreover, Mr Khan added, the IHC set aside the petitioner’s plea by remanding the matter back to the trial court for re-decision despite the fact that the petitioner had also applied for transfer of the complaint from the trial judge to any other court.

The petitioner contended the IHC had committed a jurisdiction error in remanding the case to the same trial judge against whom an application had been filed for transfer of the case.

Malik Asad adds: The ADSJ has summoned Imran Khan to appear before him today (Friday). The trial judge gave the order after taking up an appeal by the PTI chief challenging maintainability of the Toshakhana reference. The reference accused Mr Khan of concealing details of state gifts retained by him when he was prime minister.

During the hearing on Thursday, ADSJ Hamayun Dilawar declined a plea by Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, the PTI chief’s counsel, to adjourn the hearing to Aug 1, saying the Islamabad High Court had asked him to decide maintainability of the case by July 10.

However, the judge said if Imran Khan seeks exemption from personal appearance for “cogent reasons”, the court would consider it.

Our Correspondent in Toba Tek Singh adds: Faisalabad police registered two cases against the PTI chief on charges of abetment in attacks on an ISI office and Rana Sanaullah’s residence after Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2023

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