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Islamabad high court to hear Imran Khan appeal in Toshakhana case on August 22

The defence lawyers are expected to press for immediate relief in the form of suspension of the conviction until the adjudication of the petition

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

A petition filed by imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan against his conviction and sentence in the Toshakhana corruption case will be considered by a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday (22).

Judge Humayun Dilawar of the Islamabad-based sessions court on August 5 found the 70-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party guilty of corrupt practices and sentenced him to three years in jail in the case.

The Toshakhana case was filed in October 2022 by the Election Commission of Pakistan, which had earlier disqualified Khan for concealment of assets.

Khan was arrested from Lahore on the same day he was convicted and transported to Attock city and lodged in its district jail.

The former premier challenged his conviction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which accepted the petition and fixed August 22 for hearing.

A division bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, will take up the petition on Tuesday.

The defence lawyers are expected to press for immediate relief in the form of suspension of the conviction until the adjudication of the petition.

The suspension of the conviction will result in the release of Khan from the jail.

In the other scenario, the court may refuse to suspend the sentence and go for the final adjudication which may take weeks or even months.

In either scenario, Khan’s troubles may not end any time soon as, according to his party, over 200 cases have been filed against him since his ouster from power in April 2022, and he could be convicted in some of those cases.

One such case is called the Al-Qadir Trust case about the alleged misappropriation of Rs50 billion by Khan.

The government last week filed a case against him for violating the official secret laws by publicising a secret cable sent by the embassy in Washington in March last year.

Khan had waved a document at a rally days before his ouster from office, calling it a proof of conspiracy to disloyal his government by the United States but later he changed the stance and accused former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa for allegedly orchestrating his downfall.

His close aide and two-time former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was arrested in the same case over the weekend.

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.

According to the appeal, Khan’s counsel was unable to rebut the final arguments of the ECP lawyer in the trial court, as the former was preparing to file the challenge and moved another application for transfer of the matter to another court.

The petition stated that the trial court convicted Khan with a “pre-disposed mind”, and sentenced him to three years imprisonment with a fine of PKR 100,000.

The trial court verdict also means Khan is disqualified from contesting general elections.

(PTI)

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