Trial court summons ex-PM Imran in Toshakhana case

LAHORE         –       A trial court in Islamabad Monday summoned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference and issued notices to him for Tuesday (today). PTI chairman Imran Khan had been disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the same case. According to the reference, Imran had not shared details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana while proceeds from their reported sales were filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition in August. Last month, the ECP had concluded that the former premier had indeed made “false statements and incor rect declarations” regarding the gifts — a ruling that prompted widespread protests by the PTI. The ECP’s order said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution. Earlier on Monday, the ECP submitted a copy of the reference in court requesting criminal proceedings be initiated against the former premier. It will be heard by Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal on Tuesday (today). Meanwhile, PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday revealed that the government had made an offer to the PTI to sit on the negotiation table to find a solution to the current political crisis in the country. “A message has been delivered to the president to sit down and have talks. If the government is serious about holding early elections, then we are ready for the negotiations”, he said while talking to the media at Zaman Park after attending a consultative meeting of the party chaired by party chairman Imran Khan. He was accompanied by Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Umar Ayub and other party leaders. Shah Mahmood said there would be no use of holding talks if the government was not serious about holding elections. “We have not rejected the government’s offer for talks, but there should be a clear agenda to be discussed”, he said. He added: “Our insistence on holding early elections is not for power but to save the economy from default. The incumbent government has no action plan, no road map by which they can manage the economy”. Expressing concern over the country’s economic situation, he said Imran Khan will announce future action plan on November 26. “No investment is coming [to the country]; business has shut down. The country will have to be led to the new elections”, he said. The meeting presided over by Chairman Imran Khan was attended by former Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Asad Qaiser, Ali Zaidi, Zulfi Bukhari, Pervez Khattak, Ali Amin Gandapur, Murad Saeed, Aamir Kayani, Babar Awan, Shafqat Mehmood, Ejaz Chaudhary. Azam Swati, Shah Farman, Ali Awan, Shibli Faraz, Aslam Khan, Iftikhar Durrani, Colonel (R) Asim and others. The party chairman was briefed about preparations being made for the party’s November 26 rally at Rawalpindi. Imran Khan reportedly assigned tasks to different party leaders regarding the Rawalpindi gathering and asked them to mobilize the people for this political show. Qureshi told reporters that the consultation meeting chaired by Imran Khan discussed the whole plan about reaching Rawalpindi on November 26. “On that day, Imran Khan himself will come to Rawalpindi and welcome all the convoys coming from across Pakistan. PTI’s secretary-general Asad Umar said that Rawalpindi and Murree Road are chosen for the November 26 rally. “This is going to be the largest gathering in history on that day”, he said and asked the party supporters and workers to reach Rawalpindi a day before the event. He said that a tent village would be set up at the venue to provide lodging facilities to the party workers. He requested the workers and public to reach on time on November 26 because the days were getting shorter. He said adequate arrangements will be made for the accommodation of people and thousands of people will be able to stay there. “Those who can reach on November 26 should leave in time keeping in view the time for journey so that Imran Khan can give a speech in the light of the day and inform about his plan of action”, he said. He informed the media that the entire leadership in the meeting expressed serious concern over the non-registration of the FIR in accordance with the legal requirements after the assassination attack on Imran Khan and noted that the reason for this was the powerful forces involved in the Wazirabad incident. “There is a unanimous opinion in the leadership that the FIR was not filed according to the law and our point of view was not heard”, he said, adding that the FIR had no legal standing. He went on to say: “As long as the three personalities [involved in assassination attack on Imran Khan] remain in their positions, we do not see justice being done.” Umar further stated that the entire leadership had also expressed concern over the worsening economic situation as stated in the press conference by former finance minister Shaukat Tarin. “The economic situation is deteriorating day by day; the people are worried, investment is not coming, business is at a standstill. “We believe that if the elections are not held immediately, the country will default”, he maintained, adding that those not making the decision to hold new elections were national criminals. Replying to a question about Punjab government’s role in non-registration of the FIR, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “We do not doubt the sincerity of the Punjab government, but they were helpless.” He said they had nominated three individuals, but the FIR was not registered because of those three names. He reiterated his party’s demand that the three persons should be removed from their positions. In his media talk, Asad Umar also talked about public’s anger over the treatment meted out to Senator Azam Swati, Arshad Sharif’s murder, and the assassination attack on party chairman. He said that these three issues raised questions about country’s justice system. “

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