Home Latest News Judge Seeks Transfer of Iddat Case after Khawar Maneka Expresses Mistrust Once Again

Judge Seeks Transfer of Iddat Case after Khawar Maneka Expresses Mistrust Once Again

Complainant assaulted by PTI supporters and lawyers after departing courtroom

by Staff Report

Farooq Naeem—AFP

An Islamabad district and sessions judge on Wednesday urged the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to transfer the Iddat case to another bench, despite having already reserved his verdict last week and observing it would be announced today (Wednesday).

District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand reserved the verdict on the appeal—filed by PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi—against the Iddat ruling last week after the completion of all arguments. While he was due to announce the verdict today, he refused to announce the judgment and sought the transfer of the case before another bench after complainant Khawar Maneka—Bushra’s ex-husband—expressed mistrust in the judge, making the case controversial.

This was the second time Maneka expressed mistrust in Judge Arjumand. Earlier this month, Maneka had similarly requested Arjumand’s recusal from the appeals case after accusing him of being biased and sympathetic toward the PTI. In a letter addressed to the IHC, Judge Arjumand said appeals were “pending adjudication” and Maneka had “shown his mistrust on me today in open court.”

Recalling that Maneka’s earlier request for recusal was dismissed, the judge observed it would “not be appropriate to decide the lis when specific objection has been raised on the presiding officer.” Noting arguments were already completed, the judge requested the transfer of the appeals to any other court of competent jurisdiction.

“It is further submitted that the complainant and his counsel always tried to frustrate and delay the proceedings on one pretext or other,” read the letter, proposing the fixing of a timeframe for the disposal of the appeals.

Following the hearing, Maneka was assaulted by men, apparently affiliated with the PTI, dressed as lawyers. Seemingly justifying the assault, PTI leaders subsequently said Maneka had “insulted” Khan in court and this had triggered a response from the former prime minister’s supporters.

Speaking with media after the proceedings were adjourned, PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan slammed the judge’s decision to seek the case’s transfer, describing it as injustice. “This is against fundamental rights [and] a murder of justice,” he said, it was now up to the IHC to decide whether Arjumand would resume hearing the case or it would be placed before a new judge.

During today’s hearing, Maneka requested the chance to make some submissions before the court personally. Despite the court telling him to wait for proceedings to conclude, he kept asserting the need to make a personal plea, leading to several heated exchanges between him and the PTI’s lawyers. Once allowed to address the court, Maneka reiterated allegations of Khan and Bushra hiding their first nikah. He also sought to insult Khan, with the judge stopping him from using inappropriate language.

“I was mistaken to think that the PTI founder is coming [to my house] for religious purposes,” claimed Maneka. “When he performed the nikah, then I found out that the PT founder has deceived me in the name of God,” he said, with the judge directing him to focus on his arguments multiple times.

Amidst calls from Maneka for the judge to step down—and counter pleas from PTI lawyers expressing full trust in the judge—Judge Arjumand observed that regardless of the outcome of the case, it would now prove controversial. He then returned to his chambers amidst slogans of “shame, shame” from PTI supporters and issued the letter seeking a transfer of the case.

The Iddat case pertains to Khan and Bushra allegedly entering into a nikah while the ex-first lady’s iddat period—traditionally set at 3 months—had not yet concluded. The judgment drew mass criticism among civil society, which noted it opened the path for vengeful ex-husbands to harass their wives in divorce cases.

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