Islamabad: A Pakistani high court is expected to give its ruling on Friday on the appeal by former prime minister Imran Khan challenging his conviction in the Toshakhana corruption case, a day after the hearing was adjourned.
The Islamabad High Court hearing the challenge since August 22 is closing on the conclusion as rival lawyers are expected to complete the arguments on Friday.
A panel of judges comprising Chief Justice Amer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri adjourned the hearing on Thursday for one day.
Khan, 70, is currently in Attock Jail where he was lodged after arrest following his conviction. He has also been disqualified from holding any public office for five years.
Earlier, Khan’s lawyer Latif Khosa offered his argument against the conviction, asserting that the verdict was given in haste and full of shortcomings.
He urged the court to set aside the sentence but the defence team demanded more time to complete its arguments.
Judge Humayun Dilawar of the Islamabad-based sessions court on August 5 sentenced Khan to three years in prison for hiding the proceeds from the sale of state gifts.
The case was launched in October last year on the complaint of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which had earlier disqualified Khan in the same case.
Khan within days had challenged the conviction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking to suspend his sentence and overturn the judgment.
The court is expected to issue the verdict at the completion of arguments. Many believe that a favourable ruling for the cricketer-turned-politician may come after the Supreme Court highlighted faults in the judgment convicting Khan.
Separately, the Supreme Court also held a brief hearing on Thursday and adjourned the case with remarks that it would wait for the outcome of the hearing in the IHC.
A three-member apex court panel led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail conducted a hearing of the petitions in the Toshakhana case.
The IHC held the initial hearing on August 22 but adjourned the cases till Thursday after the ECP Lawyer Amjad Pervez stated that he had not been provided with the record of the case and needed time to prepare.
Earlier, the Supreme Court on Wednesday hearing various petitions against the Toshakhana case observed that there were “shortcomings” in the judgment of the sessions court.
The panel observed that the verdict was given in haste and without giving the right of defence to the accused. “Prima facie, there are shortcomings in the trial court verdict,” the chief justice said.
The apex court had also stated it would wait for the IHC hearing before giving its judgment. It resumed the hearing today but adjourned it without fixing any date after it was told that the IHC was holding a hearing.
The Toshakhana case was filed by ruling party lawmakers in 2022 in the ECP, alleging that Khan concealed the proceeds from the sale of state gifts.
The case alleges that Khan had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana – a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept – during his time as the prime minister from 2018 to 2022 and proceeds from their reported sales.
According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.
According to reports, Khan received 58 gifts worth more than Rs 140 million from world leaders during his three-and-a-half-year stint and retained all of them either by paying a negligible amount or even without any payment.
The ECP first disqualified him and then filed a case of criminal proceedings in a sessions court which convicted him and subsequently, Khan was sent to jail.