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Supreme Court asks Imran Khan to wait for IHC verdict in Toshakhana case

ISLAMABAD: With no immediate relief in sight in the Toshkhana case, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was Wednesday turned away by the Supreme Court, which asked him to await a verdict from the Islamabad High Court, as he sought a stay on the case’s trial.

Khan requested a halt to the proceedings until both the SC and the high court issued their respective decisions.

The three-member bench hearing the case, led by Justice Yahya Afridi and comprising Justice Mazahar Ali Naqvi and Justice Musarat Hilali, made these remarks during the hearing of Khan’s petition against the Toshakhana case.

Justice Yahya Afridi, when addressing PTI chief’s counsel Khawaja Haris, said the SC will take up the case once the high court has issued an order.

“We believe that the high court can issue a better order than us. It is possible that it will give the order to stop the trial tomorrow,” he said.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) has fixed Imran Khan’s appeal for a hearing on August 3, challenging the maintainability of the Toshakhana case.

Justice Afridi told PTI’s lawyers that the plea was ineffective, yet the court heard and gave an order. “First, let the high court decide, then the case will be filed in the Supreme Court.”

Meanwhile, the apex court issued a notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan officials pertaining to the case, while adjourning the hearing of the PTI chief’s petition till August 4.

The SC judge said that the supervisory jurisdiction of the trial courts is that of the high court and the SC will schedule the case for hearing after receiving the order from the high court.

Justice Yahya, asking the PTI lawyer, said what more does he want, as the court had already given relief to Khan. “It is surprising that you still approached the Supreme Court,” he remarked.

Haris, on the other hand, questioned the jurisdiction of the case. “The statement of Section 342 has been recorded in the trial court. The trial court has ordered to present the list of witnesses today,” he said.

He added that the trial court will consider the trial completed if the list of witnesses is not provided today. “The court should order to stop the trial until the decision of the cases in the SC and the IHC.”

Responding to his request, Justice Afridi said that no request for an injunction has been made.

“It would be better if you think now and file an application for injunction,” he told the counsel, informing him about the possibility of relief from the IHC rather than the apex court.

“We cannot interfere in the proceedings of the trial court at this time. How can we hear the case when the Islamabad High Court has not given any order?” Justice Afridi questioned Haris.

“You approached the Supreme Court without an order… let the high court decide first,” he reiterated.

Responding to the judge, Harris said Khan has approached the SC because the high court has not issued a stay in the case.

Last week, too, the SC rejected Khan’s plea seeking a stay on the trial court’s proceedings in the Toshakhana case.

During today’s hearing, Justice Yahya Afridi of the two-member SC bench remarked that the apex court will not interfere in the trial court’s matters in the Toshakhana case.

PTI chief’s lawyer Haris informed the court that there are multiple petitions — related to the jurisdiction of the trial court and transfer of the Toshakhana case — pending in the high court.

The former prime minister, the first to be voted out of office through a no-trust vote last year in April, had approached the top court after being denied relief from the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had, on October 21 last year, disqualified the former prime minister in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

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