Toshakhana case

Imran, Bushra sentenced to 14-year imprisonment in Toshakhana case

A court has sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to 14 years in prison in the Toshakhana case.

The verdict comes a day after the PTI founder was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a special court under the Official Secrets Act in the encryption case.

The former prime minister’s wife, Bushra Bibi, appeared in court shortly after the verdict was announced. The NAB team was already at the jail where the hearing was being held and took her into custody on arrival.

Accountability Tribunal Judge Mohammad Bashir presided over the hearing at Adiala Prison in Rawalpindi, where the former prime minister is being held.

Imran and Bushra were also banned from holding public office for the next ten years and were fined around Rs 1,574 million.

The judge also asked the two men to record their statements under Article 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and ruled out the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses.

Both men were charged in the Jan. 9 indictment.

After the verdict, Imran’s sister, Aleema Khan, said the PTI founder could have reached a settlement and eased his legal troubles, but instead remained steadfast in his resolve to save the nation.

‘Destruction of every existing law’

The PTI reacted sharply to the verdict, calling it a “complete nullification of all laws” and saying the former prime minister and the first lady faced “another terrible trial.”

The party further said that neither Imran nor Bushra had been given the right of defense and that the case had “no basis” on which it could be heard by a higher court similar to that of the Cipher trial.

Verdict to be challenged

Calling the Toshakhana verdict a “mockery of the law,” PTI Secretary General Umar Ayub said the court’s judgment would be challenged in the Supreme Court and vowed to continue the legal fight against “environmental injustice.”

He asked party supporters to remain calm and peaceful. “PTI supporters should mobilize across the board and encourage people to vote on February 8,” Ayub said.

Ayub added that all party workers should spread awareness that PTI candidates, as independents, should participate in the elections and help the party get a three-fourth majority.

‘Can never be broken’

PTI lawyer Intazar Hussain Panjutha said the former first lady had surrendered to authorities, adding that “such people can never be broken.”

The lawyer said the judgments in the Cypher and Toshakhana case will not stand in any court as they were delivered without properly recording the statements under Section 342.

Panjutha mocked Maryam Nawaz and said if it were her turn in Bushra’s place, there would have been hundreds of excuses to avoid arrest.

The lawyer added that the verdict has strengthened the status of the former prime minister and his wife among the people and that no force can now stop Imran from winning the elections.

PTI lawyer Ali Zafar called the entire Toskhana case trial a ‘drama’ and said it could not be termed as a trial.

He said the abruptly announced verdict was similar to the numerical verdict; He added that the court delivered the verdict in haste as a petition against the lack of cross-examination would be heard by the Supreme Court today.

“The lawyers of Imran and Bushra were not given the opportunity for cross-examination, the suspects were not allowed to present witnesses, and the statement of the suspect was also not recorded,” Zafar said.

He added that they expected such a verdict from the court and announced that the Legal Department would file an application for a copy of today’s order as well as an appeal against Toshakhana’s verdict.

Zafar said Article 10-A of the Constitution has been violated, and the party’s legal department is confident that the sanction will be stayed.

Toshakhana reference

The crux of the allegations revolves around the fact that Imran and Bushra allegedly withheld gifts received during their official visits abroad while Imran Khan was Prime Minister. Instead of following the prescribed official protocol and depositing these gifts in the Toshakhana, the couple allegedly kept them and donated an amount less than the assessed value to the state treasury.

Bushra is specifically accused of receiving various pieces of jewelry as gifts during official visits. The gifts allegedly withheld include a locket, two rings, two earrings, and two bracelets that she received on June 26, 2019. She is said to have bought a gold necklace, ring, bracelet, and earrings encrusted with diamonds in 2020. The list has been expanded in 2021 to consist of a necklace, earrings, ring, and bracelet.

Despite repeated requests from NAB to return these gifts, especially the jewelry, Bushra has reportedly failed to comply. In response, the NAB ordered them to report to the NAB office in Rawalpindi on December 11 and bring the specified ornaments. Subsequently, Bushra was granted bail until December 13 by the accountability court in Islamabad.