An Islamabad court has accepted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s plea seeking exemption from appearance before the court in the Toshakhana case.
Former prime minister Imran Khan submitted a request for exemption from appearance due to a three-day strike that has been going on in the Islamabad bar.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s lawyer submitted a plea to have him excused from today’s sessions, citing the ongoing strike.
In response, prosecutor Amjad Parvez said that even if Imran Khan’s lawyer participated in the demonstration, he would still need to make sure that he was present in court for the trial.
Imran Khan’s lawyer, Khawaja Harris, responded by asserting that his client was unable to attend court due to security reasons because the government had removed his protection despite threats.
He then suggested that, if allowed, PTI chairman Imran Khan may join the session via video link.
Advocate Khawaja Harris requested the court approve the exemption plea. Prosecutor Pervez said that if the Thursday hearing could not go through, it should be rescheduled for Saturday, which would result in a 10-day wait.
The judge asked that the parties confer with one another in order to help the court schedule the following hearing.
The PTI chief’s lawyer then asked for a two-week postponement of the hearing, and lawyer Faisal Chaudhry suggested that it be set for after Ramadan.
Judge Zafar Iqbal ultimately accepted the exemption plea and rescheduled the hearing until April 29.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared the former prime minister guilty of illegally selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state in October last year, and he was prohibited from holding public office as a result.
Imran Khan was charged with abusing his position as premier from 2018 to 2022 to purchase and resell gifts that he brought back from trips abroad and that cost more than Rs140 million ($635,000).
According to the ECP‘s ruling, Imran was ineligible to run for office under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.
Following the order, the election watchdog filed a criminal complaint against him with the Islamabad Sessions Court. The PTI chairman has since missed many hearings.