ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan is expected to have a decisive day in courts today (Friday) when all three tiers of the country’s judicial system will hold proceedings related to the Toshakhana case against him.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will issue the reserved verdict on Mr Khan’s appeal against the trial court’s order to refuse his right to produce witnesses in the case.

The trial court, where primary case against Mr Khan was underway, will resume the adjourned proceedings. The Supreme Court will also hear Mr Khan’s petition to halt the trial.

On Thursday, the PTI chief’s legal team moved a petition before the IHC to suspend the trial court’s order and allow Mr Khan’s witnesses to record statements.

Judgement on Imran’s plea to halt trial, reserved earlier, expected today

The petitions have been filed after Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar, on Wednesday, ruled that Mr Khan’s legal team failed to prove the relevance of his witnesses. He had warned the defence counsel to conclude the arguments, or else the court would reserve an order.

During the hearing in the IHC, Mr Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad argued the trial court rejected the application for the production of four defence witnesses.

“We sought time to produce the witnesses, however, the trial court judge closed this right [to present witnesses].”

Mr Ahmad argued that the witnesses, who were accountants and tax consultants by profession, were relevant to the case as they were responsible to maintain Mr Khan’s financial reports.

They had filed the PTI chairman’s assets declaration forms as well as tax returns, the documents at the centre of this case, the lawyer argued.

“The consultants know better about the statements submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” he insisted.

He requested the court to issue directions to the trial court for recording statements of the defence witnesses and also sought suspension of the trial.

The lawyer decried that the case was being heard in haste and said that it showed prejudice in the judiciary.

To this, the IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq asked, “Are you saying that a judge who is hearing the case on a daily basis is biased?”

Mr Ahmad replied that he wanted to present his arguments regarding the matter in court and requested the IHC to halt trial court proceedings until a decision was taken on petitions being heard by the high court.

The IHC chief justice reserved the decision, which is likely to be announced today (Friday).

In the trial court, the ECP counsel, Amjad Pervaiz, concluded his final arguments and read out the details of assets declared by the former prime minister.

He pointed out that Mr Khan did not declare any vehicle or jewellery in his declarations.

He argued that the PTI chairman was regularly declaring the ownership of his Banigala home and four goats but did not provide any details of the vehicles he owned and the gifts he received from Toshakhana.

The PTI legal team informed the court that IHC was hearing the petition against the trial and the chief justice has reserved the decision.

In the Supreme Court, a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Yahya Afridi, will resume the hearing on Mr Khan’s plea to stay the trial court’s proceedings.

On Wednesday, the court turned down Mr Khan’s request to stay the trial but also granted him relief by postponing proceedings until Friday so that he could come again in case of any adverse order by the IHC.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2023

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