A district and sessions court in the federal capital on Thursday approved a plea filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan seeking exemption from appearance in the Toshakhana case. Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal announced the ruling after hearing arguments from former prime minister’s legal team and prosecutor Amjad Parvez in the case. During the hearing, the PTI chief’s lawyer filed the exemption plea for three days and argued that the Islamabad bar was holding protest for three days.
At which, Mr Parvez said if Imran Khan was also part of the protest, adding that it was must for the suspect to ensure his attendance in court during the trial. He said the PTI chief should have appeared before the court even his lawyers wanted to join the protest.
In reply, Imran Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Harris said his client was facing threats and the government had also withdrawn his security. “He [Imran Khan] is not present in the court due to security reasons,” he said, adding that the PTI chairman could attend hearing via video link if allowed. Mr Harris pleaded the court to accept the exemption plea.
The judge asked the both sides to help the court in fixing next hearing of the case with mutual consultation. At which, Faisal Chaudhry suggested that case should be fixed for hearing after Ramadan. Mr Harris requested for adjournment of the hearing for two weeks. Later, Judge Zafar Iqbal accepted the exemption plea and adjourned the hearing till April 29.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s lawyers also filed a petition, challenging the admissibility of the Toshakhana case. They would submit their arguments in this regarding during next hearing. In previous hearing, the court had suspended his arrest warrants after he appeared before the judge in the case.
Last year, a reference was filed against him by lawmakers from the ruling coalition accusing him of not sharing the details of gifts he retained from Toshakhana in his assets declarations and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had concluded in October last year that the PTI chief filed false statements regarding the gifts.
The electoral watchdog subsequently, disqualified him for being dishonest and corrupt and approached the district and sessions court seeking criminal proceedings Imran Khan for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts. — DNA