Friday, August 25, 2023
Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar, who convicted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan and handed him down a three-year jail term in the Toshakhana case, was made an officer on special duty (OSD) on Friday.
Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq appointed ADSJ Dilawar as the OSD against a “newly-created post” at the high court after approving his request in the backdrop of the threats being received by him and his family.
According to a notification issued by the IHC additional registrar, “The honourable chief justice of this court has been pleased to make following transfer/posting of ADSJ working in the Islamabad Judicial Service, in the public interest.”
It is pertinent to mention here that ADSJ Dilawar pleaded with the relevant authorities to transfer him to any other place preferably in special courts located in the Judicial Complex G-11/ or the Islamabad High Court due to the threats being received by him and his family.
In an application to the IHC registrar — a copy of which is available with Geo News — the ADSJ said: “I take the honour to submit that the undersigned has recently rendered a judgment in criminal Complaint under section 190 of Election Act 2017 in respect of offences under sections 167 and 173 Of the Election Act 2017 along with all other enabling provisions of Law, titling District Election commissioner Islamabad Versus Imran Ahmad Niazi, convicted the accused who is the chairman of a political party.”
During the trial and particularly after passing the judgment, a campaign on social media was launched against him leading to serious threats from different people across the world, he added.
“My children are also facing hardship in moving to school and facing an unpleasant situation,” he said, adding that an organised social media campaign was orchestrated against him and his family.
“Similarly, during a recent visit of the undersigned to the UK to attend Training at the University of Hull, the undersigned and other judicial officers had to undergo displeasing episodes.”
In view of the situation, the judge requested the relevant authority that he may be transferred to any other place.
On August 5, the deposed prime minister — who was removed from office via a no-confidence motion in April last year — was arrested from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore soon after being convicted in the Toshakhana case.
The ADSJ convicted Khan for corrupt practices related to the state gift depository — allegations which he denies.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,000).
Rejecting Khan's petition seeking inadmissibility of the case, ADSJ Dilawar sentenced the former prime minister to three years imprisonment. "Charges of misdeclaration of assets have been proven against PTI chairman," he mentioned in his judgment.
He then handed Khan three years in jail along with a fine of Rs100,000, while issuing an arrest warrant for his immediate arrest.
In his short order, ADSJ Dilawar declared that the application against the reference filed by the ECP was maintainable on the ground that "nobody argued [the] application filed by [the] accused questioning [the] maintainability of [the] complaint... on the basis of earlier findings in [the] order dated 05.05.2023 and 08.07.2023 the said application is dismissed."
"So, the charge against the accused has successfully been proven that [the] accused has committed [the] 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 the years 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and making and publishing a false statement and submitting false and incorrect declaration in material particular relating to Form-8 for the year 2020-2021," read the order.
Earlier today, a two-member IHC bench comprising CJ Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri heard the plea seeking suspension of Khan's conviction by the trial court's ADSJ Dilawar.
At the outset of today’s hearing, the IHC chief justice said: "The request for suspension of sentence is now at a critical stage."
He further said: "We can also do what the trial court did, but we will not."
"We adjourn the case till Monday, and even if no one comes, we will announce our decision," Justice Farooq said, adding that what the trial court had done was wrong.
On August 23, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said that the trial court's verdict in the Toshakhana case against the former prime minister was made in haste.
CJP Bandial's remarks came during the SC hearing of a petition filed by the PTI chairman which challenged the IHC verdict on the transfer of the Toshakhana case to another court.
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 Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.
Khan 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.
Moreover, seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000), was also among the gifts.
A reference was forwarded by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to the Election Commission asking it to probe the matter.
In October 2022, the electoral body also declared the former premier guilty of corrupt practices and filed a complaint in an Islamabad court.