A court in Islamabad on Thursday issued a notice to PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan finding him apparently guilty of “corrupt practices” in the Toshakhana (gift depository) case, summoning him in a personal capacity on January 9.
District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal heard the case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the PTI chief on November 22.
The judge had reserved his decision on the maintainability of the plea earlier this week.
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.
It added that the former premier had not mentioned the details of the gifts he had acquired from the Toshakhana.
The court further observed that Imran had also failed to mention the money he had acquired by selling these gifts.
The judge in his verdict wrote that prima facie, the PTI chief was guilty of violating Section 174 of the Election Act.
Therefore, the plea against Imran is accepted for regular hearing, the verdict added.
The court noted that the Islamabad district election commissioner and an officer of the finance department of the ECP had recorded their affidavits.
Also read: Court reserves verdict on ECP plea against Imran
It added that the details of Imran's statements for four years – 2017 to 2021 – had also been submitted before the court.
The ECP had sent the reference to the district and sessions judge under Sections 137, 170, 167 of the Election Act.
It asked the court to proceed against the PTI chief under criminal law for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he had received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister.
“[The PTI chief had] deliberately concealed his assets relating to Toshakhana gifts retained by him particularly in 2018 and 2019 in the statements of assets and liabilities filed for the year 2017-2018 and 2018-19,” it added
The commission had asked the court that Imran be convicted for the offences mentioned under Sections 167 (corrupt practice) and 173 (making or publishing a false statement or declaration) of the Elections Act 2017.
The reference had been forwarded to the district court after the ECP ordered criminal action against the PTI chief in its consensus verdict in Toshakana reference in October this year.
If the corrupt practices were proven to be accurate, Imran could be sentenced to three years in jail and a fine.
In October, a four-member ECP bench had disqualified the former prime minister and ruled that the PTI chief was no longer a member of the National Assembly.
It further stated that Imran had submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practices under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.
On Monday this week, the court had reserved its verdict on the maintainability of the ECP plea.
The ECP lawyer told the court that the PTI chief's declaration statements for the years 2017-2018 and 2020-2021 were correct.
However, he added that declaration statements for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 were “controversial” as some assets were declared in 2021 that were not done before.
The lawyer contended that the former premier had taken gifts worth Rs107 million during 2018-2019.
He added that the gifts or property acquired during that period would be included in his assets.
He further stated that the Toshakhana gifts could be retained after paying 20% of their price until the PTI government introduced a new law that allowed them to be acquired after paying 50% of their cost.
The lawyer maintained that Imran had stated that he acquired an expensive wristwatch worth Rs85 million, but failed to disclose the amount for which he sold it later.
He further told the court that Imran and his wife had taken 58 gifts from the Toshakhana, adding that the value of these items in three years was Rs142 million.
He added that the PTI chief had deposited less than a third of the total value of all the gifts as he did not want to publicly disclose their prices.
The ECP counsel further claimed that Imran had obtained gifts worth Rs107 million from the Toshakhana at 20% of their prices.
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