The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday rejected PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s plea seeking to stay a trial court’s proceedings in the Toshakhana case.

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

In May, Islamabad Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Hamayun Dilawar had 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 legal questions to decide maintainability of the reference.

Subsequently, Imran had moved the SC and urged the apex court to set aside the IHC directive. He also sought a stay on the proceedings before ADSJ Dilawar until his appeal was decided. The PTI chief had moved his appeal through senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad.

On Wednesday, a two-member bench, comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Musarrat Hilali, took up Imran’s plea.

Just before the hearing began, there was a ruckus outside the courtroom, at which the judges expressed their displeasure. They asked Imran’s counsel Khawaja Haris to resolve the matter outside the courtroom.

The judges emphasised the importance of respecting the court. The courtroom staff briefly left due to the ruckus, but returned once the situation was resolved.

At the outset of the hearing, Haris stated that two petitions were already pending with the IHC, one concerning the trial court’s jurisdiction and the other seeking the transfer of Imran’s trial from the court of ADSJ Dilawar.

ECP lawyer Amjad Pervez stated that the IHC order in the case had already been implemented and a hearing on a petition against the trial court order was scheduled for tomorrow.

Justice Afridi pointed out that since the two pleas were currently with the IHC, issuing directives to the trial court would not be appropriate. The court expressed hope that the IHC would hear all identical petitions filed by the PTI chief alongside this case.

The two-judge bench rejected the PTI counsel’s plea to halt criminal proceedings in the case, referred the case back to the IHC and disposed of the petition.

Speaking to the media outside the apex court, prime minister’s aide Attaullah Tarar criticised the PTI chief for his failure to record a statement under Section 342 (power to examine the accused) of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the case.

He alleged that Imran was using “delaying tactics”, by “taking stay orders at times, by expressing lack of confidence on the judges, by challenging the jurisduction [of courts] at times”.

Noting that the PTI chairman was present in Islamabad, Tarar asked why he was not appearing in the trial court if he could go to the apex court to stop the same case from proceeding.

The plea

The petition, brought by the PTI chief before the apex court earlier this month, 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, Imran 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.

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