IHC Will Continue Imran Khans Cases Even Without Prosecutor

Concerned by the response of prosecution agencies to ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeals regarding his conviction in the cipher and Toshakhana cases, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the federal government on Thursday to appoint prosecutors before the next hearing date.

The IHC division bench, headed by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, resumed hearing on the appeals against Mr. Khan and ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s conviction in the cipher case.

Barrister Salman Safdar, representing the former premier, informed the court that Mr. Qureshi had submitted an application seeking suspension of his sentence. The directive to the government came when Deputy Attorney General Azmat Tarar informed the court that the appointment of two special prosecutors of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had not been finalized as the process was ongoing.

Justice Aurangzeb expressed dissatisfaction, stating that the court wouldn’t tolerate further delays if prosecutors weren’t appointed by March 5, the next hearing date.

Barrister Safdar highlighted Mr. Khan’s ‘swift’ trial, noting that the prosecution had presented 25 witnesses in a single day, continuing testimonies until midnight. He raised concerns about the trial being conducted in a “secret” location where the “prosecution and the judge played a match together.”

Chief Justice Farooq remarked that since the hearing had been scheduled, the counsel could present arguments in detail on the same date.

The court expressed displeasure at the state’s conduct, directing them to complete the process for prosecutor appointment before the next hearing.

The bench then addressed the appeals of Mr. Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, against their conviction in the Toshakhana reference.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, representing the couple, argued that the judge had denied the right of cross-examination in this case.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Azhar Maqbool Shah informed the court that Special Prosecutor Amjad Sohail was unavailable due to a relative’s death, proposing an adjournment till March 11.

Justice Farooq reminded him that the bench schedules the hearing.

Barrister Safdar mentioned that petitions seeking suspension of sentence and conviction had been filed by Mr. Khan, his spouse, and Mr. Qureshi.

Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the IHC had ruled on the matter of suspension of conviction, pending before the Supreme Court.

The case was adjourned to March 5.

Iddat case

District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand heard Mr. Khan and Bushra Bibi’s appeals against their conviction in the Iddat case, issuing notices to complainant Khawar Farid Maneka and adjourning the hearing to March 11.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel for the PTI’s founder, argued that Mr. Khan married Bushra Bibi 70 days after her divorce from Mr. Maneka, stating that the complaint by Mr. Maneka six years later was an afterthought.

He further argued that the trial court had disregarded legal provisions and religious principles in their conviction.

Complaint against CJP

PTI leader Shoaib Shaheen, speaking outside Adiala Jail, recalled that a Supreme Court bench in 2021 had noted Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s prejudice against Mr. Khan, suggesting he recuse himself from cases involving Mr. Khan.

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