A three-member bench of the Supreme Court will, on Wednesday, take up Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s appeal against an Islamabad High Court (IHC) order remanding the Toshakhana case to Additional Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar, who found the former prime minister guilty of “corrupt practices.”
The three-member bench hearing the case comprises Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and Justices Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Jamal Khan Mandokhel. It is unclear what the status of the petition would be, as following Khan’s conviction in the same case, the appeal calling for a stay on proceedings appears to become infructuous, according to legal experts.
According to the appeal filed by Khan’s counsel, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, in remanding the case back to the trial judge, misconstrued a submission seeking the case to be placed before any trial judge other than Judge Dilawar. “Yet the high court remanded the case back to the trial court without affording the counsel to separately submit arguments on merits regarding the application for the transfer of the case,” it said, adding the IHC had “erred in law” as the decisions earlier rendered by the trial court had not addressed the essential arguments of the petitioner’s counsel.
“The manner in which the high court passed the judgment was in breach of the fundamental rights of the petitioner since the record showed the high court order was not passed with due application of the mind,” it argued, reiterating a call for the case to be transferred over alleged bias.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq have rendered his judgment on eight petitions filed by the PTI chief, rejecting a request to transfer the case to another court, but declaring as “void” an earlier ruling of Judge Dilawar to declare “irrelevant” witnesses presented by Khan’s counsel.
Separately, the apex court returned with objections Khan’s petition about his alleged political victimization and right to fair trial, noting no question of public importance had been highlighted with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.