Islamabad [Pakistan], January 9 (ANI): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's appearance in the additional sessions court in Islamabad was exempted on Monday in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference case, Pakistan based The Express Tribune Newspaper reported.
The court was hearing the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) plea for starting criminal proceedings against Imran Khan.
The court accepted Imran Khan's request for exemption from attendance based on medical grounds.On the other hand, ECP lawyer Saad Hassan requested the court to issue an arrest warrant against Imran for not appearing before the court as PTI chairman's presence was essential as the hearing was of a criminal case, it reported.
However, the electoral watchdog's lawyer maintained that Imran's immunity plea could not be heard until he appeared before the court in person.
The court questioned if power of attorney could be given to someone on behalf of the PTI chief. It maintained that the exemption application was not filed by Imran himself,The Express Tribune Newspaper reported.
ECP lawyer Saad Hassan added that neither a power of attorney nor Imran's signature had been submitted on the application.
On December 15, the court accepted the maintainability of the commission's petition against Imran
In its three-page verdict, the court noted that prima facie, the declaration of assets submitted by the PTI chief to the ECP was incorrect.
The watchdog's order said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.
Today, Imran's lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, filed on his behalf a writ petition in the IHC, praying that the order be declared "against the settled principles of law" on Article 63.
Earlier, the ECP asked to initiate proceedings against Khan for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he had got from foreign dignitaries during his term as Pakistan's Prime Minister. According to a Dawn report, the Election Commission of Pakistan has called for a three-year jail term and imposing a fine against Imran Khan.
According to the Toshakhana reference, Imran Khan had "deliberately concealed his assets" relating to Toshakhana gifts he received, mainly in 2018 and 2019 in the "statements of assets and liabilities filed for the year 2017-2018 and 2018-19."
The gifts were bought from the Toshakhana for Rs 21.5 million on the basis of their assessed value while they were worth PKR 108 million. The reference was filed against PTI chief by the Pakistan Democratic Movement in August.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement submitted a reference against Khan for "not sharing details" of Toshakhana gifts and proceeds from their alleged sale to National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, as per the Dawn report. Subsequently, the reference was forwarded to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja for further action.