IHC adjourns hearing on PTI chief’s plea against conviction

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday adjourned the hearing on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief’s plea seeking suspension of his conviction in the Toshakhana case.

A two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and consisting of Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri heard the case.

Latif Khosa, Sheer Afzal Marwat and others presented the PTI chief during the hearing.

As the proceedings began, Latif Khosa stated that they had initially submitted a plea in the Supreme Court to review the jurisdiction issue. He said that Khawaja Haris’s clerk was barred from submitting attorney in the trial court.

To this, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq said: “Khosa sahab, the lower court has committed a blunder but their confidence is needed to be boosted. We have received an order from the Supreme Court, which has directed us to proceed with the hearing on the request for suspension of the sentence.”

Latif Khosa further articulated that the trial court has sentenced the PTI chief for four years. He aid that on August 14, the president of Pakistan had pardoned prisoners, and the PTI chief’s six-month sentence had already been remitted.

Khosa emphasised that it was essential for the determination of the jurisdiction of the trial court first. According to the law, he said the election commission has the authority to file a complaint. The election commission can delegate its powers to file a complaint. This complaint was filed by the election commission’s secretary through the district election commissioner.

The PTI chief’s legal counsel stated that no authority was given from the commission’s side in this case. This matter was initiated by the secretary of the election commission. The authority comes from the election commission to the secretary of the election commission.

Khawaja Haris detaches himself from Toshakhana case

At this, the IHC chief justice inquired whether was not in accordance with the law to file a complaint from the election commission. To which, Latif Khosa responded, “Yes, absolutely. The authorisation document is not correct.”

Khosa continued by stating that the Islamabad High Court had accepted our appeal against the trial court’s decision. The high court also sent the case back to the trial court to reconsider the request. The IHC ordered the trial court to reconsider eight questions. The trial court rendered its decision without answering those questions, Khosa said.

He added that the PTI chief’s appeal for acceptance was granted by the Islamabad High Court on the evening of August 4. On August 5, Khawaja Haris’s aide was abducted. Khawaja Haris’s affidavit for the accountability court is available. Khawaja Haris explained why he could not appear before the trial court. The IHC ordered the trial court to hear the case again due to the case on being on merit.

Latif Khosa complained to IHC chief justice, saying that a notice had been issued on an appeal against the trial court’s decision. “You did not stop the trial court from issuing the final verdict either. Even if the high court didn’t stop, the trial court judge should not have issued the final verdict,” Khosa said.

When the IHC chief asked the election commission’s counsel Majid Parvez if he had anything to say, he responded that Khosa was also a witness to “his marriage”. This statement elicited laughter in the court.

After a break, the election commission’s counsel, Majid Parvez, argued that a request had been filed in the Supreme Court against the Islamabad High Court’s decision (when it asked the trial court to hear the Toshakhana case). The application for reinstating the right to defence is pending before the single bench of the Supreme Court.

At this IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq observed that “this means that the IHC division bench has become a sandwiched between the Supreme Court and the single bench (trial court). “The court (IHC) is currently hearing the plea for the suspension of sentence. The court will not delve into the depth of the merit of the case. The question remains whether the accused was given the right to defense,” the judge observed.

Later, the IHC adjourned the case until 11:30am tomorrow.

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