Home Latest News IHC Suspends Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi’s Sentence in Toshakhana Case

IHC Suspends Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi’s Sentence in Toshakhana Case

CJ Aamer Farooq says appeals against conviction will be taken up after Eidul Fitr

by Staff Report

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday suspended the sentences of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, in the Toshakhana case, with hearings into the appeals against the punishment to be fixed after Eidul Fitr.

Announcing the order, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said appeals against the punishment would be fixed for hearing after the Eid holidays, noting the case could not be taken up while hearings were underway on appeals against Khan’s conviction in the cipher case.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir had sentenced Khan and Bushra to 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Toshakhana reference in January, a little over a week before the Feb. 8 general elections. In his ruling, the judge had disqualified the former prime minister from contesting public office for 10 years and also imposed fines of Rs. 787 million each on the couple.

Legal experts had earlier warned of technical deficiencies in the ruling, noting Judge Bashir had closed the right of cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses and asked Khan and his spouse to record their statements under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. While Bibi had recorded her statement, Khan did not, and the judge had rejected a request of Khan’s legal team to restore the right of cross-examination. Similarly, the pronouncement of the sentence must be done in the presence of the accused, and Bibi was not present for it.

During today’s hearing, the IHC CJ hopes proceedings in the cipher case appeal would be completed within a few days. “We cannot fix the Toshakhana case for hearing the very next day after holding a hearing on it today,” he remarked, noting the cipher case hearing would resume from Tuesday (tomorrow). He said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would present its arguments in the cipher case from tomorrow, adding he was unaware how long that could take.

Both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each in the cipher case for breach of state secrets.

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