Pakistan's top judge eyes loopholes in former premier's conviction

Pakistan's top judge eyes loopholes in former premier's conviction

Imran Khan has challenged his 3-year conviction in graft case

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan's Supreme Court Chief Justice observed loopholes Wednesday in the conviction of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a graft case, according to court records and media reports.

"Prima facie, there are shortcomings in the trial court verdict," Justice Umar Ata Bandial said while hearing Khan’s petition challenging the jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the trial court that convicted him for corrupt practices earlier this month.

Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), challenged his conviction in IHC, which is set to resume Thursday.

Bandial, who will retire next month, however, said the apex court would wait for the IHC’s order on Khan's appeal against his conviction and sentence in the graft case, commonly known as a "Toshakhana" case before “interfering” in the matter.

“We will not interfere in the Toshakhana case today … we will look at the IHC hearing tomorrow and then resume the proceedings,” he said.

Khan, who is in a prison in northwestern Attock city, was sentenced to three years in jail for concealing details of state gifts he had received during his nearly four-year tenure.

“What opportunities were given to the PTI chief? The trial court, after calling the case thrice, convicted the suspect and sent him to jail … the PTI chairman was not even heard,” asked Bandial.

Following his conviction, Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan from holding public office for five years.

The cricketer-turned-politician is the country's only prime minister to have been ousted through a no-trust vote in April 2022.

He has since faced a slew of cases, which he dubs as a "sham."

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