Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023

  • Containers placed around Judicial Complex.
  • Section 144 imposed in federal capital.
  • PTI chief to appear in Toshakhana case.

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman (PTI) Imran Khan has left for Islamabad from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore to appear before a court in the Toshakhana case today.

Ahead of Imran Khan’s arrival at Islamabad’s Judicial Complex, the area has been put on high security to ensure law and order and avoid any untoward situations — as happened last month.

In line with PTI’s insistence that Khan’s life is in danger and he needs security, Islamabad Chief Commissioner Noorul Amin Mengal shifted the hearing from F-8 Court Complex to the Judicial Complex in G-11 as a “one-time dispensation”.

When Khan came to the judicial complex last month, security arrangements were disrupted as PTI workers removed all barriers during their party chief’s appearances in the different courts. On the occasion, some of the workers vandalised the building and undermined the decorum of the courts.

— The News

Khan will appear before Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal in the case after he issued the former prime minister’s non-bailable arrest warrants as he had repeatedly refused to show up, with his counsel citing “security threats”.

When the Islamabad police went to Lahore to arrest Khan in line with the court orders on March 14, they faced resistance and resultantly, more than 60 police personnel — from Islamabad and Punjab — were injured, while several PTI workers also sustained injuries.

Khan’s legal team scrambled and sought relief from the sessions court, however, the judge had remarked that his orders were in line with the law and that the PTI chief should surrender himself before the authorities.

But the Islamabad High Court (IHC) earlier today stopped the police from arresting the deposed prime minister in the Toshakhana case — despite Khan resisting arrest for several days.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Islamabad police’s spokesperson said that Section 144 (ban on public gatherings and display of weapons) has been imposed in the federal capital.

Private companies, security guards, and individuals have been prohibited from carrying weapons, the spokesperson said, asking the citizens to carry necessary documents — including car ownership — while travelling.

For the traffic plan, the police asked the citizens to avoid unnecessary travel from Sector G-11/1 and G-10/1, the spokesperson, said, adding that citizens should also cooperate with police during checking.

To ensure security, the police have also placed containers around the judicial complex.

What is the Toshakhana case?

Under the rules governing “Toshakhana” — a Persian word meaning “treasure house” — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana is under the microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Imran Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

In October last year, the former prime minister was barred from holding public office after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai.

The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a “Master Graff limited edition” valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000).

The election commission’s order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Following the order, the election watchdog moved the Islamabad sessions court and sought criminal proceedings against him — and the PTI chief has missed several hearings. 

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