ISLAMABAD: Bushra Bibi, the spouse of former prime minister Imran Khan, has challenged her conviction in the Tosha­khana reference before the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

A day ago, Mr Khan also moved the court against his convictions in the Tosha­khana and cipher cases.

An accountability court convicted the husband and wife on Jan 31. They were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment each, and a Rs1.54 billion fine was imposed.

In her appeal filed on Saturday, Ms Bibi contended that the “power corridors” were behind her conviction.

The conviction was based on the “false statement” of Syed Inamullah Shah, a former comptroller in the Prime Minister’s Office, she claimed in her appeal.

According to Ms Bibi, the former prime minister had instructed his military secretary to deposit the Graft jewellery set in Toshakhana, but the prosecution alleged that this set was not deposited.

She requested the court to set aside the conviction and suspend her sentence till a decision on her appeal is made.

In his appeal, Mr Khan had pleaded that the trial was conducted in violation of the fundamental right to a fair trial even though the convicts and their counsels extended full cooperation to the court.

Judge Bashir “suddenly and illegally” ended the couple’s right to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses on Jan 29.

According to Mr Khan, his lead counsel, Sardar Latif Khosa, was contesting the election and had sought general adjournment from the Supreme Court and high courts. But the trial court refused his request for an adjournment.

When Mr Khosa’s substitute, Zaheer Abbas, took over, he was also not allowed reasonable time to prepare arguments since the court was “under some undue pressure” to decide the case before Feb 8, Mr Khan claimed in his appeal.

On Jan 30, the defence counsel requested the judge to restore the right to cross-examine the witnesses, but the judge adjourned the hearing till Jan 31.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2024

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