ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was arrested on Saturday shortly after the trial court hearing the Toshakhana case declared him guilty and sentenced him to three years in jail.
The court had ordered the immediate arrest of the PTI chairperson and also imposed a fine of Rs100,000.
Shortly after the decision, the party’s Punjab chapter took to Twitter to state that the former premier is being shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail.
The verdict, issued by Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar, comes amid the PTI chief’s contentions on both the maintainability of the case and repeated transfer requests based on percieved biasness of the judge.
A day after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the PTI chief’s legal team to take up the matter of maintainability with the trial court again, Justice Dilawar had sought arguments on maintainability. He had also warned the PTI chief’s legal team to present final arguments otherwise the decision would be announced today (Saturday).
When the trial court took up the matter today at 8.30am the PTI chief’s senior legal representatives were absent. The court took three recesses before announcing the verdict sometime past noon.
Before the decision was announced, Imran’s lawyer Khawaja Haris appeared before Judge Dilawar and informed the court that his legal team was barred from entering IHC premises.
We want to file for the transfer of this case from your court, he said.
However, the judge instructed him to either present final arguments before noon or the verdict will be issued.
In his ruling, Justice Dilawar said that the charges against Imran had been proven.
Issuing the verdict, the trial court declared the PTI chief guilty of corrupt practices and of making an “incorrect” declaration before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“The court finds its more than convincing that the complainant (ECP) had provided confidence-inspiring, well-knitted and corroborated evidence, and so the charge against the accused has successfully been proven that the accused has committed offence of corrupt practices by making and publishing false statements/declaration in respect of assets acquired by way of gifts from Toshakhana and disposed of during years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020,” wrote Justice Dilawar in the short order.
The Islamabad inspector-general of police (IGP) was instructed to ensure immediate implementation of arrest warrants.
The Toshakhana case was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the PTI chief for “deliberately concealing” the gifts he received during his term as the prime minister and retained them from the Toshakhana.
The ECP had already presented its final arguments in the case during earlier hearings.
ECP lawyer Amjad Parvez had argued that the PTI chief had admitted the charge in his statement to the court, therefore, the prosecution did not need to prove the case.
He said that the accused had admitted that the gifts were taken from Toshakhana, adding that the PTI chief claimed his tax returns would prove that he did not commit dishonesty.
However, the lawyer continued, the PTI chief’s tax returns had nothing to do with the case. He said that the PTI chief submitted a list of four witnesses who were tax consultants, therefore, it was rejected.