Toshakhana reference: Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi sentenced to 14 years

The accountability court has also disqualified the PTI founder Imran Khan for 10 years

The legal woes of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan continue to multiply as an accountability court on Wednesday sentenced the former prime minister and his spouse Bushra Bibi to 14 years in prison with rigorous punishment in the Toshakhana reference.

Accountability court’s Judge Muhammad Bashir announced the verdict, also disqualifying the former prime minister for 10 years while handing over a fine of Rs1.57 billion — 787 million each — to the couple. 

During the previous hearing, which was also held at Adiala jail, the court recorded Bushra Bibi’s statement under Section 342.

Khan told the court that his wife had nothing to do with the case and was being humiliated by being forcibly dragged into it.

At the outset of the hearing today, Judge Bashir asked Khan if he recorded his statement. To this, the former premier said that he would submit his statement once his lawyers came.

“I have been deceived as I was only called to mark my attendance for the hearing,” said the PTI founder.

IHC declares jail trial notification valid

On the other hand, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) termed the notification of Khan’s jail trial in Toshakhana and the £190 million settlement cases as valid.

The court also dismissed the PTI founder’s petitions against the jail trial in the cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Apparently, the jail trial was in view of the threats to the life of the petitioner, adding that it was not “malice”.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Jahangiri issued a detailed verdict while also rejecting the petitioner’s objection over the appointment of the accountability judge.

The IHC, in its judgment, said that the executive is responsible for determining the location of the sessions court. However, in the absence of an executive order, the relevant court can issue an order to conduct the hearing somewhere else.

“However, the court is bound to conduct the hearing in the given location in the presence of the executive order,” the judgment added.

The IHC said that there was an appeal filed in the cipher case before a two-member bench, adding that there is no law concerning the location of the hearing under the Official Secrets Act.

“Section 352 of the Criminal Code is applied in the Official Secrets Act case in the absence of a clear law,” said the court. It added that the high court rules and Section 352 will be applied when the sessions court passes an order concerning the location.

The court said that the objection over the notification of jail hearing being issued before the reference was correct.

“The NAB prosecutor had said that at the time of the notification, the proceedings of bail and remand were underway,” the IHC said, adding that the proceedings cannot be declared null and void on the basis of an executive or trial court order.


More to follow…

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