IHC voids sessions court's maintainability verdict in Toshakhana case 

IHC voids sessions court's maintainability verdict in Toshakhana case 

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday declared the session court's maintainability verdict in the Toshakhana case against former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan "void".

In its ruling, the IHC directed the sessions court to decide the case after hearing it again.

Meanwhile, the court has also rejected PTI chief's request to transfer the case to another court.

It also issued a notice on the application against the decision to reject the list of witnesses.

“Additional Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar will hear the case,” the verdict read.

“The petitioner shall ensure addressing of arguments positively on the issue when matter is fixed by court for final arguments. The trial court shall address the issues raised in the referred petitions while deciding the matter,” the order read.

The IHC also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to inquire into the matter of certain alleged posts on the session judge’s Facebook account, involve everyone concerned in the matter and furnish a report to the IHC deputy registrar within a fortnight.

A session court had last month declared that the ECP reference against the PTI chief was maintainable. The decision was subsequently challenged in the IHC.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court (SC) said that trial court cannot decide the Toshakhana case against the PTI chief till the IHC announces a final verdict into a set of petitions filed by PTI chief.

A three-member SC bench headed by Justice Yahya Afridi, and comprising Justice Musarat Hilali and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi announced the order.

The top court also concluded all appeals related to the Toshakhana case involving former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, the SC constituted a fresh three-member bench to hear the Toshakhana case against the PTI chief as Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi replaced Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi in the bench.

On Thursday, the IHC had reserved its verdict on the set of petitions filed by the former premier, including the application against the maintainability of the complaint seeking criminal proceedings against him on the charge of hiding Toshakhana gifts, a petition seeking the transfer of the said case to another trial court and a third petition filed the same day seeking the right to defence in the case.

On October 21, 2022, the ECP had disqualified the former premier in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution for making "false statements and incorrect declaration".
Imran was indicted in the Toshakhana case on May 10 when a trial court rejected his petition challenging the maintainability of the reference.

The PTI chief had challenged the trial court's decision before the IHC, which sent the case back to the trial court for re-examination within a span of seven days.