Criminal proceedings were initiated against Imran Khan in a court on Tuesday in a case filed against the ousted Pakistan prime minister for concealing information about expensive Toshakhana gifts.
The Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores gifts given by other governments and heads of state and foreign dignitaries to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials.
Proceedings against Khan were initiated on a complaint by the Election Commission of Pakistan after he was found guilty of “false statements and false declaration” in his election papers.
The complainant said that Khan had deliberately suppressed his assets relating to Toshakhana Gifts, particularly in the years 2018 and 2019, in the statement of assets and liabilities filed for the years 2017-2018 and 2018-19.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal adjourned the hearing of the case against Khan till December 8 after recording the statement of District Election Commissioner Waqas Malik, who did not appear before the court on Tuesday.
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The 70-year-old chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party – who is recovering from gunshot wounds sustained during an assassination attempt during a protest rally – was summoned to appear in court during a previous hearing .
Khan was summoned to a previous hearing, which opened a criminal trial against the ousted prime minister for concealing information about expensive Toshakhana gifts.
The cricketer-turned-politician bought Toshkhan an expensive Graff wristwatch from the Saudi royals that he had received during a visit in 2018 along with several other gifts and sold them in Dubai for a profit.
He was later disqualified from the National Assembly by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not disclosing the sale proceeds in his annual wealth statement provided to the commission.
In his affidavit, the District Election Commissioner stated that he was “authorised to comply with the decision of the ECP dated 21 November”.
“I am empowered to proceed further by clubbing Section 190 with 16 and 173 of the Election Act 2017,” he continued, adding, “The proceedings pertain to the corrupt practices of Imran Khan”.
The affidavit also takes note of the right that the ECP has to seek disqualification of a member of the National Assembly on the basis of a reference.
Later, the judge restrained Khan’s lawyer from submitting his bank statement, saying politicians “cannot submit photocopies, it has to be certified”.
While adjourning the matter, the court recorded the affidavit of District Election Commissioner Malik and adjourned the proceedings till December 8.
According to ECP records, the gifts were bought from Toshakhana – the state depository set up in 1974 – for Rs 21.5 million based on their appraised value, while his was valued at around Rs 108 million.
However, while in government, Khan has been reluctant to disclose details of gifts given to him since taking office in 2018, saying that doing so would jeopardize international relations, with even the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) had also ordered to do the same. ,
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan. was.
The cricketer-turned-politician, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament.
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