Maneka’s lawyer begins arguments in iddat case

IHC to consider Bushra Bibi’s plea for reliable medical tests today

Fiaz Mahmood April 16, 2024
Former first lady Bushra Bibi. PHOTO: FILE


Lawyers representing former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, expressed dissatisfaction on Monday with what they claim are the "delaying tactics" of Khawar Maneka’s lead counsel, as well as a court decision to postpone the iddat case for another ten days—until April 24.
Imran and Bushra were married on January 1, 2018.

Maneka, Bushra's former husband, filed a case against the couple in November 2023, alleging that the former PM and first lady had married without Bushra observing the mandatory waiting period—iddat—required for Muslim women between two marriages.

On February 3, 2024, a trial court sentenced Imran and Bushra to seven years in prison each for contracting the marriage during iddat. The PTI founder and his wife subsequently challenged the order in Islamabad District and Sessions Court.

During the previous two hearings of the appeal, Maneka’s lawyer, Rizwan Abbasi, had not appeared in court. When Judge Shahrukh Arjumand resumed the hearing on Monday, some members of Imran’s legal team informed the court that his senior counsels would appear by 10 am.

In response to the court's inquiry, it was revealed that neither Maneka nor his lead counsel was present.
When the court reconvened at 10 am, Rizwan Abbasi's assistant informed the court that Maneka’s lead counsel was occupied in the Supreme Court and would appear in court by 11:30 am. The court warned that if Abbasi failed to show up, it would proceed to deliver its verdict on the appeals.

At 11:30 am, the court was informed that Maneka’s lawyer would appear at 1 pm. Counsels for Imran and Bushra requested the court to document these delays in the court order.

Maneka’s lawyer eventually appeared in court at 1 pm and commenced his arguments in support of the trial court’s February 3 verdict. He referred to statements from witnesses, claiming that Bushra had not observed the iddat period and that her marriage with Imran was "fake".

After presenting preliminary arguments, Abbasi requested an adjournment until the first week of May. Counsels for the couple, including Salman Akram Raja, strongly opposed the request, arguing that the arguments could be completed within a few hours.

Raja recalled that the trial court had held continuous hearings and delivered a verdict within a month. However, Maneka’s lawyer insisted that he was occupied with other cases and required more time. The court adjourned until April 24, amid protests from counsels representing the PTI founder.

Meanwhile, a single-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear Bushra Bibi’s request today to conduct her medical tests from Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Hospital or another reliable lab to verify her allegation of slow poisoning.
Bushra, currently detained at Imran’s Bani Gala residence - declared a sub-jail after her conviction in the gifts case on January 31 - has requested the court to transfer her to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
In her application, Bushra alleged that authorities have installed secret cameras, even in the washroom she uses, adding that she is subjected to psychological torture.


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