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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Monday, sustained the Registrar Office’s objection on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s petition challenging a trial court’s decision about the maintainability of an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) complaint seeking criminal proceedings against him on the charge of concealing Toshakhana gifts.

A single bench of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, on Monday, heard the petition along with the objection of the Registrar’s Office related to the biometric verification of the PTI chief.

The bench, after hearing the arguments of Khan’s counsel, maintained the objection and directed the lawyer to first remove the same.

In this matter, Khan moved the court in the Toshakhana case after Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar last week declared the ECP’s reference as maintainable.

The trial court framed charges on May 10 against him in this case. However, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq stayed the proceeding and recently directed the judge to re-examine the matter in seven days, keeping in view eight legal questions he framed to decide the maintainability of the Toshakhana reference.

The questions included whether the complaint had been filed on behalf of the ECP by a duly authorised person, whether the ECP’s decision of October 21, 2022, was a valid authorisation to any officer of the ECP to file a complaint, and whether the question of authorisation was a question of fact and evidence and could be ratified subsequently during the course of proceedings.

However, when the judge re-examined the matter, the PTI chairman’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, did not appear before the court to argue the case in three consecutive hearings.

The counsel; however, filed the appeal against the trial court’s order before the IHC. He said the ECP did not file the complaint before the trial court in 120 days. The appeal stated that the ECP did not follow the prescribed procedure in filing the complaint and requested the IHC to set aside the trial court’s decision.

Meanwhile, another bench of IHC comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri granted protective bail to PTI senior leader and former NA speaker Asad Qaiser in a corruption case registered against him in Swabi.

Qaiser along with his lawyer appeared before the court to seek protective bail.

The IHC single bench granted protective bail to Qaiser against a surety bond of Rs50,000 and directed him to appear before the relevant court. The Anti-Corruption Department (ACD) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has booked several PTI leaders for allegedly making illegal appointments in the Education Department during the party’s rule in the province.

Former speaker of National Assembly Qaiser, provincial education minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, former advisor to the chief minister on industry Abdul Karim, then MPAs, Aqibullah Khan (brother of Asad Qaiser) Rangraiz Khan, and officials of the district Education Department were named in the first information report (FIR).

The FIR said that information was received from reliable sources in the Education Department that during the previous PTI governments, the members of the national and KP assemblies made illegal recruitment in the Swabi Education Department, depriving genuine educated youth of their rights.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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