Imran Khan leaves for Islamabad to attend Toshakhana case hearing

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former prime minister Imran Khan left for Islamabad to attend the hearing of the Toshakhana case in the Judicial Complex today (Saturday).

A large number of PTI leaders, including Faisal Javed and Musarrat Cheema, and workers are accompanying the convoy of the former premier. The convoy will reach the capital city via the motorway

The hearing of the Toshakhana case has been shifted to the Judicial Complex from the district and sessions court. Chief Commissioner Office issued a notification to transfer the court.

Imran Khan will appear in Court No. 1 of the Judicial Complex in G-11/4 instead of the district and sessions court in Sector F-8. Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal will hear the case.

The former prime minister has multiple times skipped indictment hearings, which was scheduled for February 28, in the district and sessions court in the case initiated at the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for concealing the details of gifts he retained from the Toshakhana while in the power.

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal was set to frame charges against him on Feb 28, but his lawyer sought an exemption from the hearing as he had to appear before other courts in the capital city. The judge had then issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the PTI chief.

Videos posted on PTI’s official Twitter handle shows a larger number of PTI workers hasve started gathering at Zaman Park in order to join Imran Khan’s convoy to Islamabad. PTI leaders have also reached the residence of the party chief. A video shows security team of the former prime minister holding prayer before leaving for Islamabad

The district administration of Islamabad has imposed Section 144 (ban on public gatherings and display of weapons) keeping in view Imran Khan’s appearance in the Toshakhana case.

Police have also released the traffic plan and said citizens should avoid unnecessary movement towards G-10 and G-11. They have been urged to carry CNIC and cooperate with the police during checking. Citizens have been advised to immediately report any suspicious activity.

Islamabad Police has made fool-proof security arrangements ahead of the appearance of PTI chairman Imran Khan in court. Police have also placed containers around the judicial complex.

Police said no one except the PTI chief and his lawyers will be allowed to enter the court’s premises. The authorities are attempting to avoid a repeat of Imran Khan’s earlier appearance in which dozens of people were injured in an altercation with police.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday suspended arrest warrants issued against Imran Khan by a district and sessions court in the Toshakhana case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued the ruling after the petition submitted by the PTI against warrants fixed for hearing earlier in the day.

Earlier, the registrar’s office raised objections to the petition, stating that the former prime minister did not conduct biometric verification to submit the petition. It also added how the high court could take up a petition again when it has issued verdict on it.

A legal team of the former prime minister had filed the petition in the IHC as the district and sessions court has summoned him on March 18 to attend the hearing he has skipped for four times.

Imran Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Harris has plead the high court to shift the case from the court of Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal. He also asked the IHC to accept an undertaking and cancel the arrest warrants issued against his client.

On Thursday, the lower court rejected Mr Khan’s plea seeking the suspension of non-bailable arrest warrants issued in the Toshakhana case. The judge announced the verdict reserved earlier redirecting the authorities concerned to arrest the former prime minister and present him before the court on March 18.

Imran Khan’s indictment in the reference sent by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was originally scheduled for February 28, but it was differed multiple times before as the PTI chief did not show-up. Later, the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the PTI chairman.

“[…] it is concluded that the application is not justified by law as well as fact which is hereby rejected,” reads the written verdict issued no Thursday.

The verdict stated that the applicant has “prayed that in view of the undertaking given by him and the sureties offered by him to the satisfaction of this court, the order dated 13.03.2023 may kindly be recalled and suspend the warrant of arrest.

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