Imran’s indictment postponed in heated Toshakhana case hearing

— Counsels for ECP, former prime minister trade insults

ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad granted a temporary medical exemption to Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), deferring his indictment in the Toshakhana reference.

The court, in the previous hearing on January 31, had slated the announcement of charges against Khan for February 7. The former prime minister is currently recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during a rally in November of last year.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Ali Bukhari and Gohar Ali Khan represented Khan while the Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was represented by Saad Hasan. The proceedings were conducted by Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal.

At the outset of the proceedings, the judge asked for the submission of surety bonds and inquired about Khan’s appearance, to which his counsels replied that his health was a concern, and that they had not yet received certified copies related to the case from the prosecution.

The ECP lawyer said the copies had already been provided. The judge then directed the commission to provide the PTI counsels with all necessary documents and the next hearing date will be determined once this has been done.

The proceedings were marked by a heated exchange between the two sides. Hasan accused Khan’s legal team of bringing a miraasi (broken records) to the proceedings, to which the PTI’s counsel responded by calling the ECP team munshi (clerks). The judge intervened to prevent further insults being exchanged.

The case centres on a government department known as Toshakhana — which during the Mughal era referred to the treasure houses kept by the subcontinent’s princely rulers to store and display gifts lavished on them.

Government officials must declare all gifts to the Cabinet Division, but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.

More expensive items must go to Toshakhana under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division, but in some cases, the recipient can buy them back at around 50 percent of their value — a discount Khan raised from 20 percent while in office.

The ruling coalition of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties has for months alleged the former prime minister and his wife, Bushra Maneka, received lavish gifts worth millions during trips abroad. They included luxury watches, jewellery, designer handbags and perfumes.


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