The trial court in Islamabad has rejected the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) request for a summary trial of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, stating that the ECP does not have the authority to direct a sessions court. The court ruled that summary trials are conducted by a magistrate for specific offenses. The Toshakhana reference was sent to the trial court on November 22, 2022, and criminal proceedings were initiated against Khan under sections 137, 170, and 167 of the Election Act, 2017.
This was after a four-member ECP bench declared that Imran Khan had misled officials about gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as prime minister. The trial was adjourned until April 29 due to Ramazan and Eid holidays, but on April 4, the ECP requested an earlier hearing date, arguing that the long adjournment amounted to egregious delay in the judicial process. During Tuesday’s hearing, the ECP’s counsel argued for a summary trial to be conducted in the complaint within three months.
However, Imran Khan’s counsel argued that the ECP was attempting to influence the court and referred to a similar complaint filed against another former premier, stating that the ECP had not filed a similar application to expedite that trial, indicating a selective approach. After hearing arguments from both sides, the court rejected the ECP’s application, stating that it was not justified by law or fact. This decision is expected to have significant implications for the ongoing case, which has garnered national attention.