District and sessions court of Islamabad on Tuesday rejected the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) plea for early hearing of the Toshakhana case against the former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan.
The plea was moved by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the court of additional sessions judge Zafar Iqbal.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal said the hearing in this regard will be held on 29th April which was decided initially on 30th March.
PTI Chairman Imran khan is facing charges of corruption related to the Toshakhana Gifts.
The former prime minister was asked to appear before the court at 8:30 in the morning, but he did not appear. At the outset of the hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyers Khawaja Haris and Faisal Chaudhry opposed the immediate hearing of the case and termed it as a waste of money and time.
They argued that the hearing was adjourned till April 29 after consultation with the ECP; however, after two days the electoral body decided that it want to get this hearing fixed earlier.
The court after hearing arguments from both sides reserved the verdict for 10 minutes. After the resumption of the hearing, the court rejected ECP’s plea for an immediate hearing.
Now the hearing will be held as per schedule on April 29.
On the last hearing, the court ordered to hear the case on 29th April, then what is the need of an immediate hearing, he asked.
In October last year, Imran Khan was restricted from holding public office after the ECP found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state.
The trial court issued an arrest warrant for the PTI chief in March due to his continuous absence in the case.
The order of arrest, however, was cancelled by the trial court a few days later, over PTI’s statement that Imran Khan’s life was in danger and he needed security. The court had adjourned the hearing till 30th March and ordered Khan to ensure his presence in the court.
But during last hearing on 30th March court granted relief to Imran khan till 29th April despite his continuous absence.
In the written judgment, the ECP said: “As per the statement of Imran Khan he had purchased the gifts from Toshakhana paying 21.564 million rupees while the Cabinet Division said that the gifts had a value of 107.943 million.”
“The amount in his bank account was around half of the value of the state gifts. Imran Khan was bound to declare the cash and bank details in his returns but he didn’t declare it,” ECP decision read.
“Imran Khan being declared disqualified and unseated from his National Assembly seat,” the ECP said, adding: “He has been disqualified under Article 63, 1(P), over submitting a false statement and declaration”.
Toshakhana is a word of Persian origin that literally translates into “treasure house”.
In Pakistan, Toshakhana is a term used to refer to the state treasury, where gifts and presents received by the President, Prime Minister, or other high-level government officials are kept. The Toshakhana is managed by the Cabinet Division of the Government of Pakistan, and the gifts received by government officials are stored there for safekeeping.
The Toshakhana in Pakistan was established during the British colonial era and has been in operation ever since. The gifts received by government officials can range from simple tokens of appreciation to expensive and valuable items such as jewelry, cars, watches, and even animals.
According to Pakistan law, whenever a head of state receives a gift from another state or country, they have to commit it to the Toshakhana. If they wish to keep the gift, they have to pay a certain percentage of the value of the gift decided by relevant authorities.
The Toshakhana issue became a major issue in Pakistan’s politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified the PTI chief for making “false statements and incorrect declaration” last month.
The judgment added that the former premier was found to be indulged in corrupt practices under sections 167 and 173 of the constitution. “A criminal proceeding will be initiated against him over filing a false statement.”
“As per the statement of Imran Khan he had purchased the gifts from Toshakhana paying 21.564 million rupees while the Cabinet Division said that the gifts had a value of 107.943 million.”
The gifts include
- Rolex wristwatch no. M228206-0036, 43.6470
- Rolex wristwatch no. M126331-0014, 2G367435
- Rolex wristwatch no. M1I6700LS001,(999927K8) Oyster S
- One iPhone presented by Qatar’s army chief dated 14/11/2018
- Rolex wristwatch no. Yacht-Master, Oyster, Serial no.068A7072. Model 116680
- Rolex wristwatch (No.E67574V3), pair of cufflinks, one ring, and unstitched cloth of pants and coat from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia dated 18/09/2020.
- Graff gift set containing one Graff wristwatch Master Graff Special Edition Mecca Timepiece, One 18K gold and diamond Graff Pen, ring, and pair of cufflinks with a micro painting of Mecca.