ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court on Thursday reserved the verdict on appeals, filed by former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi, against their conviction in the Iddat case.

The judgement is likely to be announced on May 29.

Raja Rizwan Abbasi, lead counsel for complainant Khawar Fareed Man­eka, was not in the court during the hearing of the appeals on Thursday.

Defence counsel Usman Gill and the prosecutor concluded their arguments before District and Sessions Judge Sharukh Arjumand.

PTI-allied religio-political leaders term case ‘politically motivated’; prosecutor seeks more time to conclude arguments in cipher case

The court asked his associate to contact Rizwan Abbasi and tell him that he may conclude his arguments in person or via video link.

However, when Mr Abbasi failed to appear, the court reserved its decision.

‘Fabricated case’

Religio-political leaders allied with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) described the case as fabricated, politically motivated and contrary to the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

In a joint video statement, they emphasised that in the matter of Iddat, the testimony given by the woman concerned is considered credible and sufficient, therefore, any decision should be made accordingly.

Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen leader Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza said that after consulting religious scholars from all schools of thought, they had concluded that the Iddat case was a politically-motivated conspiracy devoid of any religious, legal, or moral basis.

They claimed that even if they were against Imran Khan they would have still said what was right, because it was a matter of religion.

Mr Qadri said in matters such as Iddat, the woman’s testimony was considered sufficient and should be respected.

He urged the government and judiciary to abandon attempts aimed at destroying family and marital life and undermining the very fabric of society.

He called for all religious scholars regardless of their political affiliation to oppose such “conspiracies” and speak out publically against them.

Mr Abbas said judiciary should not interfere in such sensitive religious matters they have little knowledge of.

He demanded that the judge who awarded sentence to the PTI founder and his spouse should be questioned about his knowledge on Islam and religion.

Mr Raza claimed that what they were stating was not their opinion but they had reached this conclusion after long deliberation with scholars of different schools of thought.

Cipher case

Meanwhile, the hearing of appeals by Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi against their conviction in the cipher case could not be completed as the FIA’s special prosecutor sought more time to conclude his arguments.

Special Prosecutor Syed Zulfiqar Abbasi Naqvi was seeking an hour from a division bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb to conclude his arguments.

The hearing started at about 3pm. After about an hour and a half, the chief justice inquired from Mr Naqvi how long would he take to conclude his arguments, to which the prosecutor replied that he would need at least one more hour.

Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the court works under a tight schedule and the judges are supposed to write orders in the evening.

Defence counsel Barrister Salman Safdar informed the court he would require 45 minutes for a rebuttal to the prosecution’s arguments.

Subsequently, further hearing of the matter was adjourned to May 28.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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