Trouble seems to be growing for Imran Khan as the Islamabad district and sessions court has upheld its non-bailable warrant against the former Pakistan Prime Minister in the Toshakhana case. The court had issued an arrest warrant against Khan last week, the Dawn reported.
Last week, Justice Zafar Iqbal had issued a non-bailable warrant against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan for failing to appear in the Toshakhana case in the F-8 Kachehri court multiple times. After Khan's lawyer requested for an exemption for the PTI chief from attending the hearing, Judge Zafar Iqbal issued a non-bailable warrant.
After this setback, Khan had obtained a pre-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court.
Imran plays hide and seek: On Sunday, the Islamabad police had gone to Lahore to arrest Khan from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, but he was nowhere to be found. The police said that an officer entered the room of Khan, but he was not there. However, earlier in the day, Khan had addressed his supporters from the same place.
Police arrive at former PM Imran Khan's residence at Zaman Park, Islamabad to arrest him in the Toshakhana case pic.twitter.com/ygmgj6QNvI— Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) March 5, 2023
Imran Khan is involved at least four court cases, but the Toshakhana case is the one in where he has been present in the court. Certainly, the case has something in it that bothers Khan.
What is the Toshakhana case? The word Toshakhana means the 'House of Treasure'. In Pakistan, it is a department under the Cabinet division. It was created in 1974 by the Pakistan government and it was meant to keep gifts received by the Pakistani officials. Only the Pakistani Prime Minister and President are exempted to receive such gifts.
If the cost of the gift is less than Rs 30,000, then the PM or the President can keep the gift. But if it is more than that, then it has to be kept in the Toshakhana by law.
If an official wants to keep the gift, then he or she has to pay 20% of the gift's value, which Imran Khan raised to 50% in 2018.
Where Imran went wrong: As per the rules, it is compulsory for the officials to report the gifts received to the Cabinet division. But when Imran Khan came to power in 2018, he stopped disclosing information on these gifts saying that doing so would severely impact relations with other countries.
Things turned upside down for Khan when he lost power in April 2022 after a no-confidence motion was passed against him and he lost majority in the House. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) became the party with maximum numbers of lawmakers on its side, and Shehbaz Sharif became the new PM.
In August 2022, the PML-N filed a case against Khan saying that he didn't disclose information on the gifts presented to Toshakhana, and the proceeds from the 'illegal' sale of the gifts.
Election Commission of Pakistan comes into picture: Two months after the case was filed against Khan, ECP found that even though the sales of gifts were not illegal as he had paid for them, he engaged in unethical behaviour making "false assertions and erroneous declarations".
Subsequently, in a major setback to Khan, the apex body barred him from holding public office for a period of five years.
This led to massive protests across Pakistan by PTI supporters, and vandalism was reported from several places. A case of terrorism was also slapped against Khan, which alleged that the the party leadership had encouraged the protests after ECP disqualified Khan in the Toshakhana case.
What next? The 70-year-old former Pakistan PM is recovering from a gunshot wound he received during an assasination attempt in Wazirabad last year. He has failed to appear in the Islamabad Sessions Court thrice in the Toshakhana case, and the judiciary is showing no leniency and has upheld its non-bailable warrant against him.
The Judge, Zafar Iqbal, said that since Khan has not challenged the warrant at any forum, and it shall "remain enforced, until it is canceled by the court which issued it or until it is executed as per Section 75 (2) Cr.P.C."
Other than the Toshakhana case, Khan also has also been named in three other cases of terrorism, prohibited funding, and an attempted murder.