ISLAMABAD: The district and sessions judge (DSJ) on Tuesday adjourned hearing on the appeals against the conviction of former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi in a case related to contracting Nikkah during the latter’s Iddat period.

The counsel for the complainant Khawar Fareed Manika remained absent.

Judge Shahrukh Arjumand resumed hearing on the appeals.

Barrister Chaudhry Usama Jameel, an associate of lead counsel of the complainant, informed the judge that the senior lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, could not appear before the court and sought adjournment.

Bushra Bibi’s counsel Usman Riaz Gill opposed the request saying that the trial court judges in the cases of Toshakhana, cipher and Iddat cases never accepted any request of adjournment, adding that the court-appointed state counsel for cross-examination for late arrival of the counsels of Mr Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Barrister Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Mr Khan, argued that the former prime minister did not sign the chargesheet and the legal formalities were not fulfilled during the trial proceeding.

Mr Raja said the defence counsel as well as the accused persons repeatedly requested the court to grant reasonable time for preparation of arguments, but the trial judge completed the proceeding in haste.

On the other hand, Mr Gill said Bushra Bibi sought adjournment for medical reason and attached the doctor’s report, but to no avail.

He said the accused were never given the right of fair trial nor were they allowed to produce evidence in their defence.

The counsel further argued that a proxy application was filed before the same court, however, it had been withdrawn a day before Khawar Manika filed the application.

The prosecutor, Hassan Abbas, also argued before the court.

District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand adjourned further hearing till April 15, and warned that the court would issue an appropriate order on the next date even if the counsel for the complainant did not appear.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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