Pakistan Court Rejects Imran Khan’s Plea For Suspension Of Trial In Contempt Case

Pak Court Rejects Imran Khan's Plea For Suspension Of Trial In Contempt Case

Justice Neelum asked the counsel about the notification of the jail trial.


A Pakistani court on Monday turned down a request of former prime minister Imran Khan seeking immediate suspension of his jail trial in a contempt case initiated by the country’s top electoral body.

In 2022, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) initiated contempt proceedings against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf founder for allegedly using “intemperate language” against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.

At the outset of the petition, Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench headed by Justice Aalia Neelum asked Mr Khan’s counsel about an office objection to the petition that they did not furnish certified copies of the documents.

In response, Advocate Ishtiaq A Khan said the certified copies were not provided to them; instead, they obtained copies from the website of the ECP. Justice Neelum remarked that the case cannot proceed until the objection is removed. She also asked the counsel how the jurisdiction of the LHC is established against the order of the ECP Islamabad office.

The lawyer argued that the LHC has the jurisdiction to hear the matter. The judge remarked that the petitioner should have approached the Islamabad High Court or the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC.

The counsel pointed out that the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC referred a similar case for hearing on the principal seat.

Justice Neelum noted that there were no judges available to form a bench in Rawalpindi, therefore, the matter is referred to the principal seat.

Advocate Mr Khan argued that federal matters can also be challenged in a provincial high court. He said the ECP neither has power to punish someone for its contempt nor the jail trial falls under its jurisdiction. He said proceedings for the indictment had been commenced against the PTI founding chairman.

Justice Neelum asked the counsel about the notification of the jail trial.

The lawyer said there is no notification for the jail trial, yet the trial has been started. Justice Shahram Sarwar Chaudhry, another member of the bench, questioned how this can be possible without a notification, as even a bird in jail cannot move without one.

Asked about the notification, a lawyer for the ECP told the full bench that the notification of the jail trial had been issued by the home department on Dec 8. The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel if he intends to challenge the notification of the jail trial.

The counsel expressed his willingness to challenge the notification of the jail trial and asked the bench to fix the case again.

The counsel requested the court to suspend the jail trial of the former premier as an interim relief. However, the bench turned down the request to immediately suspend the jail trial.

“The court cannot suspend a notification which has not been challenged before it,” the bench said and issued a notice to the ECP for submission of a reply and adjourned the hearing for a date to be fixed later.

Mr Khan,71, who is facing multiple cases has been incarcerated at high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi since August last year. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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