Iddat case set for fresh hearing as judge seeks case transfer

Maneka’s protest halts verdict announcement; PTI supporters assault him for stalling

Our Correspondent May 29, 2024
PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi appear in court. Photo: Screengrab/File


The appeal of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi against their conviction in the Iddat Nikkah case could not be decided on Wednesday because the judge referred the matter to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) registrar for transfer to another court.

During a tumultuous hearing, Bibi’s first husband, Khawar Maneka, addressed the court and launched verbal attacks on Imran, infuriating PTI supporters, including lawyers, who then assaulted Maneka inside and outside the courtroom.

Islamabad Sessions Court Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, who heard the appeals, subsequently wrote a letter to the IHC registrar. In it, he explained that the complainant in the original case, Khawar Maneka, had expressed no confidence in him, making it inappropriate for him to decide the matter.

The judge noted that a previous application of no confidence had already been dismissed, and this was the second time Maneka had shown no trust in him. Therefore, he requested that the matter be transferred to another court.

Judge Arjumand also mentioned in the letter that Maneka and his lawyer had previously attempted to stall the hearings. He suggested that a time frame for completing the case should be set.

On February 3, Senior Civil Judge Qudratullah sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi to seven years imprisonment in the “un-Islamic” marriage case. This case was filed by Bibi’s first husband, Khawar Maneka, who accused the couple of tying the knot while the former first lady was going through the Iddat period.

Read Ulema term verdict in iddat case against Shariah

The judgment found Imran and Bibi guilty under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) Section 496, which pertains to marriage ceremonies fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage. Imran and Bibi had challenged the verdict in the Sessions Court.
During the hearing of the appeal, Khawar Maneka and his lawyer Rizwan Abbasi appeared in court. Several PTI leaders, including Shibli Faraz, Omar Ayub, Ali Muhammad Khan, Faisal Javed, and other party supporters were also present, anticipating the announcement of the verdict.

At the outset of the hearing, Rizwan Abbasi began his arguments, but Maneka interrupted and started directly addressing the judge. When the judge instructed him to let his lawyer speak for him, Maneka insisted on being given 10 minutes to speak, claiming his lawyer could not adequately express his feelings.

He then stated that he had no hope of getting justice in this world and expressed his lack of confidence in the court, claiming it was under undue influence.

Maneka leveled serious allegations against PTI founder Imran Khan, accusing him of entering his house under the guise of religion and committing theft. He further alleged that Imran lied in the name of Allah and had no understanding of the Quran.

Maneka also claimed that fake divorce papers regarding his daughters were being spread on social media and accused PTI lawyers of threatening him.

He asked the judge not to decide the case, reiterating his lack of confidence in the court.

PTI's lawyer, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, objected to Maneka's language and argued that the court had completed the proceedings, and therefore, the case should not be transferred.

He pleaded that his client was in jail and that Maneka was stalling the case. After the judge left the courtroom, PTI women and supporting lawyers shouted "Shame, Shame" at Maneka.

He was also hit with water bottles thrown by some women. Upon leaving the courtroom, Maneka was manhandled by pro-PTI lawyers.


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