Imran Khan gets bail or not – Islamabad High Court to announce verdict in Toshakhana Case

Imran Khan gets bail or not?
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Intrigue in the Courtroom

On a crisp Monday morning, the Division Bench of Islamabad High Court has revealed its intentions to unveil its reserved verdict at 11 a.m. the following day, shedding light on PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s plea. Prime focus of this legal theatrics is Imran Khan’s pursuit of suspension of 3-year jail sentence imposed upon him by Judge Humayun Dilawar in the infamous Toshakhana case. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set the stage for a momentous announcement.

Background of Imran Khan’s Toshakhana Case

The legal showdown began when a trial court presided by Judge Humayun Dilawar, rendered a judgement on August 5, 2023, wherein Imran Khan was found guilty in a case initiated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The case revolved around allegations of concealing details concerning state gifts otherwise known as the toshakhana case, resulting in Imran’s incarceration for a three-year term. The judgment also casted a shadow on his political future, disqualifying him from participating in general elections for a staggering five years, stated a notification issued by ECP.

Judgement by Trial Court and conviction of 3 years are challenged in Islamabad High Court by the legal team of Imran Khan. At the same time, he approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan to challenge the IHC’s decision to remand the case back to the trial court.

Last week when the Supreme Court noted “procedural defects” in Imran Khan’s conviction, the case took an unexpected turn, but opted to wait for decision of Division bench on his plea. When the supreme court used the word “procedural defects”, being a very cautious approach by the SC, it drew sharp criticism from the Pakistan Bar Council, Legal Experts and National Media, which fervently criticized the attempt of unwarranted “interference” in the matter pending before the subordinate judiciary.

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In a previous hearing, postponed due to absence of Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, legal representative of Election Commission of Pakistan caused voicing of discontent of Imran Khan’s Lawyer Mr. Latif Khosa and declared his intention to skip the next hearing, if such is the case.
Nevertheless, Chief Justice, Islamabad High Court, Mr. Aamer Farooq, who is presided over the proceedings and formerly faced Imran Khan’s lack of confidence, asserted his commitment to decide the matter swiftly, even if it meant rendering decision in the absence of one party.
Today on August 28, 2023, a division bench comprising of Justice Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri started the courtroom. Both learned counsels, Khosa and Pervaiz, were present, ready to argue for their respective parties.

Highlights of arguments

Mr. Amjad Pervaiz, ECP’s representative while arguing pleaded before the Hon’ble Division Bench to issue notices to the State as it is mandated by the law. The Hon’ble Court immediately impleaded the state as party and directed the office to issue notices to the state. As ECP’s counsel wrapped up his argument, Advocate Latif Khosa conceded that petitioner has no objection ot impleading state as a party, but it should not be done at this stage of the case.
The Hon’ble Division Bench comprising of Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. Aamer Farooq and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri directed both the counsels to wait for judgement till Tomorrow, 11.00 AM in the morning, i.e., Tuesday, August 29, 2023, whereby Judgement shall be announced.

Security Concerns Loom

In the meantime, the Islamabad Police made a significant statement about security concerns in the court. Islamabad Police has affirmed their readiness to manage any unexpected incidents during hearings of this crucial case within the premises of IHC. In a plea to the public of Islamabad, the police sought cooperation and urged individuals to identify themselves whenever required by the police official.

Inside the Courtroom

• ECP’s lawyer presented arguments citing laws and past cases.
• Mentioned Rahul Gandhi’s similar plea, which was dismissed.
• Emphasized the necessity of issuing a notice to the State.
• HCJ questioned need for the state to be a party since it was a “private complaint.”
• Debated session court’s role, asserting adherence to the Pakistan Penal Code.
• Requested clarification on any filing errors affecting trial validity.
• Requested a brief recess for medication.
• Legal exchange between Pervaiz and Khosa.
• Discussion on formal authorization of the complaint.
• Challenge on why the ECP’s secretary filed without clear directives.
• Arguments on the right to defend and timing of the complaint.
• Focus on trial court’s dismissal of witnesses.
• Exploration of asset details submitted to the election commission.
• Khosa’s agreement on issuing a notice to the government.
• Verdict reserved, creating anticipation.

The Petition and Toshakhana Case

Imran Khan’s legal journey began with a petition to the IHC against his conviction, wherein his legal team has challenged the trial court’s August 5, 2023 verdict rendered by Humayun Dilawar as unsustainable. The petition criticized the judgment, alleging bias and a predetermined outcome. It shed light about the Imran’s lack of opportunity to defend himself adequately. The petition noted the remarkably brief time taken to dictate the judgment and no witnesses were allowed to give statement. It pointed out a violation of the IHC’s prior orders. In summary, the petition called for the annulment of the trial court verdict, Imran’s acquittal, and the invalidation of his conviction.

With the legal chapters now closed after the court announcement, Pakistan eagerly awaits the verdict that will determine the course of Imran Khan’s political future and the impact it will have on the nation’s political landscape.

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