PTI chairman seeks IHC chief justice's recusal from Toshakhana case

Web Desk
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq. — IHC website
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq. — IHC website

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday filed a petition seeking the recusal of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq from the Toshakhana case.

In the petition, the former prime minister — who was removed from power via a no-confidence motion in April last year — is seeking the transfer of the two Toshakhana cases to another bench. The petition has also named the district election commission as the respondent.

The IHC is hearing two appeals of the PTI chief against a sessions court verdict in the Toshakhana case.

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 has been under a microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that the PTI chief purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

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.