IHC suspends PTI chairman’s sentence in Toshakhana case

IHC Judge Dilawar Toshakhana

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suspended the conviction of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman by a sessions court in the Toshakhana case.

On August 5, Judge Dilawar of the Islamabad sessions court had handed down a verdict under section 174 of the Elections Act, entailing a three-year sentence to jail and a five-year disqualification from running for public office for PTI chairman.

A bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri heard the plea filed by chairman PTI’s counsel Latif Khosa who requested the court to issue an order on the meeting request. 

Earlier, arguing before the bench, the ECP lawyer, Amjad Parvez emphasized the necessity of notifying the public prosecutor in the case. The CJ remarked that the complaint was filed by the ECP, not the state. “You never raised this point in the trial court; this is the first time you’re mentioning it,” he added.

Read: Hamza Shehbaz applauds Judge for ‘courageous decision’ in Toshakhana case

Drawing parallels, Amjad Parvez referred to a case involving Indian politician Rahul Gandhi, saying, “In India, Rahul Gandhi faced two years imprisonment in a private complaint case. He filed a bail application, which was rejected.”

The court noted that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to granting bail. Parvez, referring to military regulations, argued that there is no mention of including the complainant in bail pleas.

He urged the court to issue a notice to the state in the bail application, emphasizing that the hearing should not proceed without listening to the state’s position.

During the hearing, another case involving Zahoor Elahi was also mentioned by the Election Commission’s lawyer. Amjad Parvez clarified he wasn’t opposing Khan’s bail plea but was asserting the need to notify the public prosecutor before proceeding.

Parvez highlighted differences between Pakistani and Indian legal systems concerning imprisonment durations. “Here, the minimum punishment is one year, while in India, it’s at least three years. Our legal systems regarding punishments are vastly different,” he said.

Throughout the hearing, various court decisions were referenced by the ECP lawyer, who made an earnest plea for the court to issue a notice to the public prosecutor.

The CJ remarked that in NAB (National Accountability Bureau) cases, the complainant is never made a party. He explained that the NAB law defines the prosecutor, and the state doesn’t come into play in NAB cases. “It’s not possible to issue any orders without hearing from NAB,” he said, adding that in military cases, it’s necessary to notify the state. The term “complainant” isn’t present in the law; it’s “state”, he informed.

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