ISLAMABAD: The unexpected declaration of a public holiday by the PML-N government on Youm-i-Takbeer delayed the much-awaited conclusion of proceedings on the appeals of PTI leaders Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi against their conviction in cipher case, as the case was fixed for hearing on Tuesday.

A division bench of the Islamabad High Court, (IHC) comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, had earlier hinted at concluding the case on May 28.

However, after the cabinet division’s notification stating, “The prime minister has been pleased to declare May 28, 2024, (Youm-i-Takbeer) as a public holiday throughout the country”, the apex court, high courts and lower courts also observed it as a public holiday.

While the cancellation of the entire cause list (list of cases fixed for hearing) leaves little chance of cipher case hearing this week, a verdict is expected in the Iddat case today (on May 29) in which Mr Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi have been serving seven-year term.

Besides, the IHC is likely to resume hearing on the petition seeking recovery of missing poet Ahmed Farhad for which the registrar office had already been directed to arrange live streaming of the proceedings. Justice Kayani at a previous hearing of this case had also allowed the media to report the proceedings, contrary to the ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for being a sub judice matter.

On the other hand, Justice Babar Sattar, who had complained of being pressurised to back off from audio leak case, is expected to resume its hearing on Wednesday.

According to his complaint, which is being heard by a three-judge larger bench, a malicious campaign had been initiated against him on the social media after he refused to bow to the alleged pressure.

On May 30, the SC will hear the case of amendments introduced by the PDM government in the National Accountability Ordinance. The incarcerated ex-PM is likely to attend the proceedings via a video link from Adiala Jail.The same day PTI’s appeal in intra-party polls case is also scheduled for hearing.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2024

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