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Imran Khan skips indictment in Toshakana case

Imran Khan skips indictment in Toshakana case

Pakistan

Imran Khan skips indictment in Toshakana case

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – A district and sessions court in the federal capital on Tuesday deferred the indictment of former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case after accepting his plea seeking exemption from physical appearance on medical grounds.

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict reserved earlier in the day after Mr Khan’s counsel submitted a fresh petition seeking exemption from personal appearance. The judge accepted the plea, adding that a new date for indicting the PTI chief would be announced later.

The petition was submitted by Mr Khan’s lawyers Gohar Ali Khan and Ali Bukhari as Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal resumed hearing the case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for criminal proceedings against the PTI chief for allegedly misleading the officials about gifts he received from the foreign dignitaries during his tenure as prime minister of the country. The court had summoned the PTI chief for Tuesday for indictment in the case.

At the outset of the hearing, Mr Bukhari submitted the exemption plea on behalf of Imran Khan on medical grounds. He asked the court to fix next hearing of the case after Feb 15 as the PTI chief was scheduled to appear before Judge Rakhshanda Shaheen that day. “Provide us a date when Imran Khan will appear before court,” the judge told the lawyer as he expressed resentment over non-appearance of the suspect in the case.

Mr Bukhari said his client would attend the hearing if he was allowed by his doctors as he is recovering from bullet wounds in Lahore after an assassination attempt in Wazirabad. He said surety bonds worth Rs20,000 were submitted on Monday for the exemption plea.

The lawyer also told the judge that the ECP had not provided the verified copies of the evidence in the case. Later, the court directed the counsel for the top electoral body to hand over the copies to the PTI lawyer.

Read More: Imran Khan decides to withdraw petition from IHC against disqualification in Toshakhana case

Last year, the top electoral body had sent the reference to the district and sessions court under Sections 137, 170, and 167 of the Election Act, seeking initiation of criminal proceedings against Imran Khan for incorrect declaration of assets for 2017-2018 and 2018-19. The ECP, in the petition, has called for a three-year jail term and imposing a fine on the PTI chief.

On Dec 15, the court admitted the commission’s plea against Mr Khan. In its three-page verdict, the court noted that prima facie, the former premier didn't mention the details of the gifts he acquired from the Toshakhana. In August last, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) moved the ECP against Imran Khan over not filing the details of gifts he obtained from Toshakhana for Rs21.5 million.

Later in October, the ECP, in a unanimous decision, found the former prime minister guilty of “corrupt practices” and disqualified him from being a member of parliament.