An Islamabad sessions court stated on Tuesday that charges against PTI chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference will be framed on February 7.
The reference was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) last year, asking the court to proceed against Imran under criminal law for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister. It claimed that Imran had “deliberately concealed his assets relating to Toshakhana gifts retained by him particularly in the year 2018 and 2019 […] in the statements of assets and liabilities filed for the year 2017-2018 and 2018-19”.
The Toshakhana is a department under the Cabinet Division that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by heads of other governments and foreign dignitaries
The ECP had requested that the PTI chief be convicted for the offences mentioned under Sections 167 (corrupt practice) and 173 (making or publishing a false statement or declaration) of the Elections Act 2017.
At the previous hearing, the court had reserved its judgement on ECP’s petition.
On Tuesday morning, Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal pronounced the verdict with PTI lawyer Ali Bukhari and ECP counsel Advocate Saad Hasan in attendance.
Meanwhile, the PTI chief — who is recuperating after sustaining a gunshot wound following an assassination bid during a rally on Nov 3 — sought exemption from today’s hearing.
At the onset of the hearing today, the court asked Bukhari where Imran’s power of attorney was. Here, ECP’s counsel Hasan said that the power of attorney can not be presented until “Imran Khan comes to court himself.”
However, the PTI contended that Imran’s medical certificate had been submitted in court. “Give me five minutes, Barrister Gohar is just about to reach [the court],” he said.
The judge then instructed Bukhari to submit Imran’s power of attorney today.
At one point during the hearing, an argument erupted between the lawyers of the PTI and ECP after which Advocate Hasan requested the court to issue arrest warrants for the former premier.
Subsequently, Judge Iqbal directed Imran to submit surety bonds worth Rs20,000 and instructed him to ensure in-person attendance in court at the next hearing.