Toshakhana case against Imran Khan: Trial court to announce its verdict today at 2 pm

Imran Khan arrest warrants
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - JULY 26: Newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister and leader of Pakistan Movement for Justice Imran Khan addresses to the nation after the general elections results are announced in Islamabad, Pakistan on July 26, 2018. (Photo by Muhhamad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Islamabad: On a petition filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, an Islamabad-based trial court is set to announce its verdict today (Thursday) at 2 pm.

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal had heard the case before reserving his verdict on Monday.

Non-availability of bench: ECP postpones hearing of 5 cases against Imran Khan till Dec. 20

On November 22, the ECP had sent the Toshakhana reference to the trial court to initiate criminal proceedings against the former prime minister, following which the criminal trial of Imran Khan formally began for concealing information about the Toshakhana gifts in his nomination papers for an election contest.

During the hearing on Monday, Saad Hassan, the counsel of the ECP had presented his arguments.

“Imran Khan said that he constructed a road with the money [acquired from] Toshakhana [gifts],” he had said, arguing that a prime minister has to deposit any gift they receive to the Toshakhana.

He had further stated that the Toshakhana gifts could be retained after paying 20% of the gift’s price until the PTI government introduced a new law that allowed retaining the Toshakhana gifts after paying 50% of its price.

“The price of the watch was estimated at Rs85 million,” he had said, adding that Khan failed to state the amount for which he sold the Toshakhana watch.

In October this year, the ECP, in its unanimous verdict, found Imran Khan involved in corrupt practices and disqualified him, ruling that the PTI chief was no more a member of the National Assembly.

The ECP had stated that the PTI chief had submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practices under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

The ECP order had further stated that the respondent had “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions contained [in] Sections 137, 167, and 173 of the Elections Act 2017, as he “has made false statements and an incorrect declaration before the commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21”.

Imran’s Toshakhana disqualification | By Rizwan Ghani

5 cases against Imran Khan postponed till Dec. 20

Imran Khan’s position as the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is also under threat as the ECP last week initiated proceedings against him in the light of the disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

However, the hearing of the case, along with four other cases, was postponed till December 20 by the ECP due to the non-availability of bench members.

Previously, the five cases were scheduled to be heard by the Commission on December 13.

It must be noted that a similar petition, seeking the removal of Imran Khan as Chairman of the PTI, following his disqualification, is already pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC).