Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan again failed to appear before a court in the federal capital to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case.
The former prime minister has thrice skipped indictment hearings 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 Toshakhana while in power.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal was set to frame charges against him on February 28, but his lawyer sought 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 and adjourned the hearing till March 7.
At the outset of the hearing, the junior lawyer for the PTI chief, Sardar Masroof Khan, sought time before 10pm for an appearance with the senior legal team. When the judge asked if Mr Khan would attend the hearing, he replied that he was unaware of it.
The judge also inquired about the appearance of the guarantor in Imran Khan’s bail, saying the guarantor was responsible for ensuring the presence of the PTI chief in the case. The PTI lawyer said that a notice could not be issued to the guarantor until the completion of the process.
Here, the ECP lawyer said the Imran Khan’s lawyer should inform the court about the appearance of Mr Khan in the morning to save time of the court.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till 10am. Prosecution’s Mohsin Shahnawaz and ECP ’s counsel Saad Hasan were also in attendance.
When the judge resumed the hearing, another PTI lawyer,, Sher Afzal Marwat, represented Mr Khan and informed the court that the senior legal team was at the Islamabad High Court (IHC), adding that he would submit his power of attorney in court within a day or two. He later asked the court to adjourn the case until next week.
At which, Judge Zafar Iqbal said the proceedings regarding summons of Imran Khan were underway. Marwat replied that his client was not feeling well.
The ECP counsel pleaded the court to issue a notice to the guarantor of PTI chief and cancel his surety. He also sought adjournment of the case till March 9.
The PTI lawyer said Mr Khan had to appear before the high court on March 9 at any cost, adding that he had been informed that it would be easier for Imran to appear in F-8 Katcheri next week.
At this point, the judge remarked that it appeared that the PTI chairman would not appear before him on March 9. He said Imran Khan was ready to appear before other courts but not in the sessions court.
Later, he adjourned the hearing till 2pm.
Imran Khan Decides Against Attending the Hearing
Sources said the PTI chief on Monday decided not to appear in the Toshakhana case before the court due to security concerns. The legal team had apprised Mr Khan of the legal aspects in this regard as well.
The legal team will file a petition on Tuesday in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for protective bail, and the decision of the additional session judge will also be challenged. The lawyers will seek permission to present Mr Khan before the court via video li