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Imran’s indictment in Toshakhana case postponed yet again

On Tuesday, an Islamabad district and sessions court postponed for the second time PTI chairman Imran Khan’s indictment in the Toshakhana reference on medical grounds, with the judge noting that if the delay continued, his trial would last indefinitely.

Imran has been summoned to appear in person before Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zafar Iqbal on February 28.

On Jan 31, the court announced that charges against PTI chief, who is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained during an assassination attempt during a rally on Nov 3, would be heard in the reference on Feb 7.

However, during the previous hearing, Imran’s lawyers filed an exemption plea for a personal appearance in court, which resulted in the ex-prime minister’s indictment being postponed until today.

Last year, lawmakers from the ruling coalition filed a reference alleging that Imran failed to share details of the gifts he received from the Toshaskhana (during his tenure as prime minister) and proceeds from their reported sales. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) concluded on October 21 that the former prime minister had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” about the gifts.

The Toshakhana is a Cabinet Division department that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by foreign heads of state and dignitaries. Gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply must be reported to the Cabinet Division, according to Toshakhana rules.

According to the order of the watchdog, Imran was disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Following that, the ECP filed a copy of the reference with the Islamabad Sessions Court, seeking criminal charges against Imran for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as Prime Minister.

Imran has hired a team of senior lawyers to fight the ECP complaint in the case, including Khawaja Haris Ahmed, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, and Advocate Ali Bukhari.

The hearing

PTI chief’s lawyer filed another exemption request in court at the start of today’s hearing. “An x-ray of Imran Khan will be performed on February 28,” said Advocate Gohar.

The court stated that if Imran’s absence continued, the trial would never end.

ECP lawyer also objected to the exemption request, claiming that the plea lacked a medical certificate.

“An order should be issued to [form] a medical board for Imran,” he said, adding that the PTI chief should be examined medically.

The court then ordered Imran’s lawyer to produce a medico-legal certificate for his client so that it could learn the extent of his injuries.

Copies of the case records were distributed at one point during the hearing.

“According to the law, copies of the case are given to the accused in his presence [in court]. “For the same reason, Imran Khan was summoned today,” ADSJ Iqbal said.

He also questioned how the court could determine Imran’s health in the absence of a medico-legal certificate. “Why not conduct a medical [examination] of Imran at Pims,” the judge continued.

The hearing was then adjourned until February 28 after the court instructed Imran’s lawyer to ensure PTI chief’s presence at the next proceedings.

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