The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its verdict on a petition filed by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan seeking the suspension of the trial verdict in the Toshakhana case.
A two-member bench, led by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, conducted the hearing on Monday.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had previously disqualified Imran Khan for five years from holding any public office.
The trial court in Islamabad found the PTI supremo guilty of "corrupt practices" for allegedly concealing details of state gifts received during his tenure as prime minister, sentencing him to three years in prison.
In October of this year, Imran Khan initially challenged the trial verdict in the IHC.
However, he later sought to withdraw the appeal, citing a pending petition on the same matter before the Lahore High Court (LHC). The IHC rejected the withdrawal petition last week, setting the stage for the ongoing legal battle.
During Monday's hearing, Imran Khan's lawyer, Latif Khosa, expressed frustration over being denied attendance at the Adiala jail hearing, asserting his right to represent his client.
Chief Justice Farooq assured that the matter would be reported to the registrar. Meanwhile, ECP's lawyer, Advocate Amjad Parvez, raised objections to the parallel plea in the Lahore High Court, contending its inadmissibility in the IHC.
Parvez argued that the Lahore High Court's single bench had forwarded the matter to a five-member bench after a hearing, emphasizing that the petition challenging the ECP's disqualification notification might not be admissible in the Islamabad High Court.
The ECP lawyer noted the timing of the appeal, highlighting that it was filed one month and eight days after the initial verdict in the Toshakhana case.
Khan's allegations and ECP's verdict
The Toshakhana case gained prominence with allegations that Imran Khan purchased gifts received during his prime ministership at low rates and subsequently sold them for substantial profits in the open market.
The 70-year-old politician faced accusations of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership in transactions amounting to over Rs140 million ($635,000). Notably, the gifts included high-value watches, with claims that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.
In October 2022, the Election Commission of Pakistan declared the former premier guilty of corrupt practices in connection with the Toshakhana case.
The legal proceedings continue, as the Islamabad High Court deliberates on Imran Khan's plea, navigating the intricate web of allegations, objections, and appeals surrounding the Toshakhana controversy.
Established in 1974, Toshakhana, a Persian word meaning "treasure house," falls under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division.
It stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states, as well as foreign dignitaries, as a goodwill gesture.
Valuables housed in Toshakhana range from bulletproof cars and gold-plated souvenirs to expensive paintings, watches, ornaments, rugs, and swords.