ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday stopped the proceeding against former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, in the case related to contracting marriage during the latter’s Iddat period.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of Bushra Bibi against her trial in the Iddat case.Her counsel, Salman Akram Raja, argued before the court that Khawar Fareed Manika, the ex-husband of Bushra Bibi, filed the complaint against her and Mr Khan for contracting marriage during the iddat period. He said that the complaint was filed after about six years of second marriage.

He further said that the complainant was also seeking legal action against the couple under Section 496-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) over the illegitimate relations, despite the fact that there was no evidence of the said crime. The trial court has already deleted this section during the framing of charges.

During the indictment, trial court judge Qudrat Ullah noted that since there was no other witness than Latif, a domestic servant of Manika, the couple could not be charged under Section 496-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, and indicted them under Section 496 for alleged fraudulent marriage and asked the prosecution to produce evidence.

Justice Farooq issued notice to Manika and adjourned the hearing until January 25. He also restrained the prosecution from producing the evidence in this case. The trial court will take up this case on January 29. Talking with the reporters at Adiala Jail, Mr Khan said that his opponents went to such a low level that they forced her ex-husband to accuse the mother of his grown children of fornication.

Indictment in GBP £190mn deferred

Meanwhile, the accountability court of Islamabad deferred the indictment of former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, in the £190 million corruption case. Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir was scheduled to indict them in this case.

However, in a surprising move, Mr Khan disassociated himself from his lawyers and informed the judge that he had engaged Barrister Syed Ali Zafar and Sikandar Zulqarnain as counsel. The court was told that Barrister Zafar could appear on Wednesday; subsequently, the hearing was adjourned until said day.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2024

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