Toshakhana case: Islamabad court restores arrest warrants against Imran Khan
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar has summoned PTI chief today for indictment
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – A district and sessions court in the federal capital on Monday restored the arrest warrants issued against PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict reserved earlier in the day after hearing arguments from the PTI chief's lawyer. The judge turned down his exemption plea and ordered the authorities to produce the suspect before court on March 18.
The court had summoned the PTI chief today for indictment in the case initiated on the complaint filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan, but he again skipped the hearing.
PTI chief’s lawyer Khawaja Harris told that his client could not appear in court due to security threats. He said Mr Khan was not deliberately skipping the hearings, adding that it was on the record that he got injured when an assassination attempt was made on him last year.
He informed the judge that petitions had been filed in the Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court for appearance of his client via video link.He also submitted another plea asking the court to declare the petition filed by the ECP seeking criminal proceedings against the PTI chief inadmissible.
Khawaja Harris raised questions on the ECP complaint saying it was not filed by a competent authority. He said it was yet to see in which conditions the ECP could file a complaint. He opposed the indictment of Imran Khan in the case.
Last week, the IHC suspended the non-bailable arrest warrants issued against the former PM by Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal in the graft case related to the purchase and sale of gifts from the Toshakhana till March 13.
IHC chief justice Aamer Farooq accepted Khan's plea against judge's decision and directed the PTI chairman to ensure that he appears or March 13 before the trial court that had issued the arrest warrants.
The former prime minister has thrice skipped indictment hearings in the district and sessions court in the case initiated at the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for concealing the details of gifts he retained from the Toshakhana while in the power.
Imran Khan Evades Arrest
Last Sunday, the capital police reached Mr Khan’s residence in Zaman Park on Sunday to arrest him after the sessions court issued warrants against him but he reportedly “dodged” them. A few hours later, Mr Khan, while addressing the party workers, demanded a public hearing of the case. He came hard on the coalition government for its incompetence and mismanagement.
His speech had prompted Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ban television channels from broadcasting his speeches and news conferences. It accused the PTI chief of attacking the state's institutions and promoting hatred. Later, the Pemra notification was suspended by the LHC.
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.