Home Latest News Imran Khan Sentenced to Three Years’ Imprisonment in Toshakhana Case

Imran Khan Sentenced to Three Years’ Imprisonment in Toshakhana Case

Police take PTI chief into custody from Lahore on arrest warrants issued for him by trial court

by Staff Report

File photo of PTI chief Imran Khan

Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar on Saturday sentenced Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100,000 after finding the former prime minister guilty of “corrupt practices.” Subsequently, Khan was arrested by police from his home in Zaman Park.

The PTI’s Punjab Chapter confirmed reports of Khan’s arrest. “Imran Khan is being moved to Kot Lakhpat Jail,” it said in a posting on Twitter. The PTI’s main account, meanwhile, said it “rejected” the “biased” verdict and vowed to challenge it in superior courts.

In his ruling, the judge said that if Khan failed to pay the fine, his sentence could be increased by six additional months. Observing that the charges against the former prime minister had been proven, he said: “Imran Khan submitted fake details to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and is found guilty of corrupt practices,” he said while dictating his ruling in the country.

He then sent the PTI chief to jail for three years under Section 174 of the Election Act. Following Khan’s conviction in the criminal case, he also stands disqualified from holding public office for the next five years. However, he retains the right of appeal and could see his sentenced reduced or nullified if his lawyers can successfully argue it.

The judge also directed a copy of his order to be sent to the Islamabad police chief for the execution of the court orders for Khan’s arrest. During proceedings, Judge Dilawar repeatedly asked for Khan or his lawyers to appear before him to present their concluding arguments, and announced his verdict only after two recesses to allow them time to appear.

“He [Imran Khan] has been found guilty of corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from national exchequer willfully and intentionally,” reads the ruling. “He cheated while providing information about gifts he obtained from Toshakhana, which later proved to be false and inaccurate. His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” it adds.

On the matter of the petition’s maintainability, the judge noted that no one had delivered arguments over it from the petitioner, and it thus stood dismissed.

Shortly after the orders were issued, local media reported Lahore Police took the PTI chief into custody, with expectations that he would be transported to Islamabad for detention later in the day. He was initially set to be flown to Islamabad, but due to weather conditions, was shifted to the capital in a police vehicle.

Police in Lahore also beefed up security around Zaman Park after the verdict was announced, with reports indicating the step was taken to avoid any adverse situation as was witnessed after Khan’s arrest on May 9 in the Al-Qadir Trust Corruption case.

Toshakhana case

Acting on a complaint filed by the National Assembly speaker, the ECP on Oct. 21, 2022, found that Khan made “false statements and incorrect declarations” about gifts he received from the Toshakhana while prime minister and disqualified him under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Subsequently, it moved a sessions court in the federal capital seeking the initiation of criminal proceedings against the PTI chief for misleading the ECP over the value of the gifts he received. The trial court indicted the PTI chairman on May 10 and rejected his petition to declare the case inadmissible.

On July 4, the IHC overturned the trial court’s ruling and directed it to rehear the petitioner and decide the matter of the case’s admissibility within seven days. On July 8, Judge Dilawar again declared the Toshakhana case against Khan as maintainable. This, too, was challenged in the IHC by the PTI.

As the proceedings continued, Khan’s lawyers often avoided appearing in court, and also accused the presiding judge of bias on the basis of alleged Facebook posts and sought the transfer of the case.

On Aug. 2, the trial court rejected the list of witnesses presented by PTI chairman, finding them irrelevant to the criminal proceedings against him. Khan also challenged this decision in the IHC, with the court set to hear the case next week. The PTI chief also filed a plea in the IHC seeking a stay against proceedings and transfer of the case to another court.

On Aug. 4, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq referred the matter back to the trial court with a direction to re-examine the jurisdiction and any procedural lapse in the filing of the complaint by the ECP while not halting proceedings or imposing any stay on delivering a verdict. Subsequently, Judge Dilawar resumed the hearing on Aug. 5. However, no representative of the PTI chairman appeared before him despite several adjournments, prompting him to reserve the verdict.

Later, the judge announced the verdict, finding the former prime minister guilty of corrupt practices and sentencing him to three years in jail.

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