Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan once again escapes hearing in Toshakhana case

ISLAMABAD: ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan failed to appear in court in Islamabad on Tuesday for the fourth time in Toshakhana case even though the court refused to cancel the arrest warrant against him.
The former prime minister’s lawyer, Sher Afzal Marwat, who appeared in court, said Khan, 70, was ill and “disabled” after being injured in the Wazirabad attack.
Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he received as prime minister at a discount from the state custodian called Toshakhana, and selling them for a profit.
Marwat said a ‘world spectacle’ had been created over Pakistani leader Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), whose party challenged the arrest warrant issued against him in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday for failing to appear before a district and sessions of Islamabad. to research.
Asking the court to give a date next week to hear the case, Marwat said he would provide the power of attorney in “a day or two”.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Khan criticized Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government and said it was behind a total of 76 court cases – so far – brought against him.
“This is what happens when a group of criminals are imposed on a nation by those lacking in intelligence, morals and ethics,” he tweeted.
The ousted prime minister’s lawyer said it would be easier for the PTI leader to appear in district court next week.
The Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP) lawyer requested that the hearing be postponed until March 9, which Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha justified and said the cricketer-turned-politician will have to appear before the IHC. to this date.
“Imran Khan will definitely appear in Islamabad High Court on March 9,” Ranjha reiterated.
Judge Zafar Iqbal then observed that “in other words, Imran Khan will not appear in session court even on March 9.”
Speaking, Ranjha urged that action be taken against Khan and wondered if an ordinary citizen also had such relief from appearing in court.
“Imran Khan appears in court only when he wants to,” Ranja said.
Arguing that Khan did not care about the legal system, Ranjha added that on behalf of Khan, a request for continued exemption was filed and the exemption was also granted.
The court held that the case would be handled according to law.
The ECP attorney said Thursday should be the deadline to submit the PTI attorney’s letter and conduct the next hearing.
Ordering Marwat to submit his letter, the Additional Sessions Judge then adjourned the hearing until 2 p.m.
Stating that Khan had been to other courts but did not appear in them, the judge asked his lawyer to name a case that had lasted so long in court for additional sessions.
The PTI leader on Monday moved the IHC against the non-releasable arrest warrant ordered by the Islamabad Sessions Court in the Toshakhana case.
His lawyer Ali Bukhari in the petition to the IHC requested the cancellation of the warrant, arguing that it was “illegal” to issue a non-releasable warrant.
The IHC then gave Khan another opportunity to choose a date to appear in court in the Toshakhana reference (deposit of gifts).
The court also noted that the warrants were not issued for arrests but to lay charges against Khan.
“You come to court to make charges and then ask for an exemption,” Judge Farooq said. “The law is the same for everyone. What can the court do?
“The court must adopt a legal procedure,” he added, saying Khan was due to appear in court of sessions today (Monday) but he did not.
“You say, when will he appear?” asked the judge. “Imran Khan must also appear before me. He can come on March 9 and also appear before the Court of Sessions.
Here, the PTI lawyer said Khan had serious security threats, to which the judge replied that the judges of the court receive threats “every day” and asked him if he should close the IHC at because of that.
Khan’s lawyer said he would consult with the head of the PTI and get “instructions” on what to do next “within half an hour”. The lawyer said he would speak to Khan via video link due to “security concerns”.
The court adjourned the hearing for half an hour.
The Islamabad Sessions Court had earlier on Monday dismissed the request to quash Khan’s arrest warrant.
Khan had argued that withdrawing the summons would give him “a fair opportunity to appear and defend himself” in the case, but the justice said the PTI chief “willfully avoided” his appearance.
Khan has already skipped arraignment hearings in the Islamabad Sessions Court three times in the case.
In his asset declarations, he is accused of concealing details of gifts he kept from the Toshakhana – a repository where gifts given to government officials by foreign officials are kept.
The Islamabad Sessions Court judge issued arrest warrants for Khan on February 28 and adjourned the hearing until March 7.
On March 5, a police team from Islamabad was dispatched to the Khan Zaman Park residence in Lahore with the court summons. However, the police returned empty-handed after the head of the PTI escaped arrest.
Separately, Islamabad police on Monday filed a complaint against Khan and 150 of his party members for preventing law enforcement officials from enforcing a court order against the ousted prime minister in the Toshakhana case. .
Police met stiff resistance from Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists outside Khan’s residence in Zaman Park.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in October last year ruled that he had made “false statements and incorrect statements” regarding Toshakhana’s gifts.
The ECP later petitioned the Court of Sessions in Islamabad to prosecute Khan under criminal law for concealing the sale of gifts.
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he said was part of a US-led plot targeting him over his foreign policy decisions independent on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
Khan, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani prime minister to have been ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament.


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