The Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Pakistan has temporarily suspended the sentencing of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case,.
A division bench, composed of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood, announced the judgment, reported the Dawn. "The copy of the judgment will be available shortly; all we are saying now is that Imran’s request has been approved," Judge Farooq stated.
However, it remains uncertain whether Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, will be released from Attock jail.
On August 5, 2023, a trial court in Pakistan convicted Khan in the Toshakhana case, which was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The ECP accused Khan of not disclosing details of foreign gifts he had received during his tenure as Pakistan's Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022.
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, expressed his discontent with the judgment, stating that Imran Khan's sentence has been "suspended," not "terminated."
Sharif took to the social media platform X to voice his disagreement with the verdict. He wrote, "This moment is a matter of concern for our justice system. The Chief Justice of Pakistan's 'good to see you' and 'wish you good luck' has reached the IHC," claiming that "everyone knew about the verdict even before it was announced."
لاڈلے کی سزا معطل ہوئی ہے ختم نہیں ہوئی۔ چیف جسٹس کا "گُڈ ٹو سی یو" اور "وشنگ یو گڈ لک" کا پیغام اسلاآباد ہائی کورٹ تک پہنچ گیا۔ فیصلہ آنے سے پہلے ہی سب کو پتہ ہو کہ فیصلہ کیا ہوگا تو یہ نظام عدل کے لئے لمحہ فکریہ ہونا چاہیے ۔ اعلی عدلیہ سے واضح پیغام مل جائے تو ماتحت عدالت یہ نہ…— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 29, 2023
Barrister Asad Rahim clarified that suspending the sentence does not affect the conviction's status. He stated to Dawn, "Conviction means you have been held responsible in the eyes of the law. So only when you are completely acquitted in an appeal does it end the conviction."
He also mentioned that after reviewing the judgment's copy, it will be determined whether it addresses Khan's disqualification from politics for five years.
The trial court's judgment led to Khan's disqualification from participating in any elections for the next five years.
In response to the IHC's decision, supporters of the PTI party have called for the release of Imran Khan from Attock jail.
PTI leader Taimur Khan Jagra stated, "The nation expects Khan’s release today. The abuse of the law campaign against Imran Khan has undermined the country's system far enough. We cannot afford more."
چیف جسٹس صاحب نے ہماری درخواست منظور کر لی،سزا معطل کرتے ہوۓ کہا ہے کہ تفصیلی فیصلہ بعد میں لے لیجیے گا.— Naeem Haider Panjutha (@NaeemPanjuthaa) August 29, 2023
Meanwhile, Imran Khan has been incarcerated at Attock Jail since August 5, 2023. He has raised concerns about the poor conditions in the jail.
His wife, Bushra Bibi, has requested his transfer to Rawalpindi jail, fearing for his safety at Attock Jail.
What is the Toshakhana case? Toshakhana is a department in the cabinet division of Pakistan created in 1974. This division is meant to keep gifts received by the Pakistani President or Prime Minister.
Former PM Imran Khan has been accused of not disclosing the details of the proceeds from the sale of gifts he received when he was the PM of Pakistan.
The case was first filed by Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) in August, 2022. The PML-N had accused Khan of concealing the details from the proceeds of “illegal sale of the gifts received in the Toshakhana division”.
Two months later, the Election Commission of Pakistan found Khan guilty of making ‘false assertions and erroneous declarations’ pertaining to the sale of gifts from the Toshkhana.
The election body thus barred him from holding any public office for next five years.