The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has made a significant ruling in the Toshakhana case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, rejecting an earlier verdict of the session court that declared the case maintainable for criminal proceedings. Chief Justice of the IHC, Aamer Farooq, ordered the session court to reevaluate the matter, but at the same time, dismissed an appeal by the PTI chief to transfer the case to another court.
The Toshakhana case was initiated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), accusing the PTI chairman of intentionally concealing gifts received during his term as Prime Minister and retaining them from the Toshakhana (a state treasury of gifts received by government officials). The PTI chief had sought relief from the Supreme Court on two occasions, but his application was dismissed, prompting him to await the IHC’s decision.
Several petitions were filed by the PTI chief at the IHC, challenging the jurisdiction of the additional district and sessions court that was set to try the Toshakhana case. Additionally, the PTI chief raised concerns about the court’s decision to terminate his right to defense in the matter.
In a recent ruling, IHC Chief Justice Farooq declared the lower court’s decision null and void, restoring the right to defense and directing the trial court to address all concerns raised by the PTI chief in his petitions. However, the request to transfer the case to another court was denied, and an immediate stay order was not granted.
“The Trial Court shall address the issues raised in the referred petitions while deciding the matter,” the ruling stated.
The IHC also took note of concerns raised regarding social media posts allegedly associated with the trial court judge and ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct further investigations. The FIA reported that the Facebook posts attributed to Mr. Hamayoon Dilawar, Additional Sessions Judge (West), Islamabad, and Presiding Officer of the Trial Court, were not authentic. However, the court directed the FIA to conduct a thorough inquiry involving all concerned parties and submit a detailed report to the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) of the IHC within two weeks.
The Toshakhana case has been a matter of contention, with the PTI chief seeking legal recourse to challenge the proceedings and defend himself against the allegations brought forth by the ECP. The IHC’s ruling marks a crucial development in the case, paving the way for further proceedings in the trial court.