IHC issues notice
to Imran Khan
in defamation case

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday has issued notice to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking termination of his right of cross-examination in a Rs10 billion compensation case against Pakistan Muslim League-N’s (PML-N) Khawaja Asif.

The IHC heard Asif’s petition against the sessions court’s decision to remove the right of cross-examination on the prime minister’s statement. The court restrained the trial court from proceeding with the hearing.

Khawaja Asif and Imran Khan

The PML-N leader’s lawyer claimed that the trial court judge removed the right of cross-examination on PM Imran’s statement, adding that the case dates to 2012 and questions were framed in 2021.

“Are you saying that the adjournment was done by Imran Khan?” Chief Justice Athar Minallah questioned, stating that the defamation case should have been decided in two months.

Asif’s counsel maintained that the adjournment was taken by both the parties. The IHC sought a reply from the premier and adjourned the hearing till January 12.

The PML-N leader on Tuesday filed an application in the IHC against the lower court’s verdict and nominated PM Imran and the sessions court judge as respondents.

Asif has pleaded in the application that PM Imran’s statement was recorded by the additional district and sessions judge via video link in the absence of his lawyer.

Last month, PM Imran appeared before a district and sessions court via video link from his office to record his statement in a defamation suit worth Rs10 billion filed against Asif.

The premier had submitted an affidavit to Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan against the PML-N leader for levelling allegations of non-transparency, money laundering and use of anonymous companies in the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) funds.

PM Imran, in the document, informed the court that on August 1, 2012, Asif, while addressing a news conference held at the Punjab House, had alleged that he (PM Imran) had indulged in money laundering or had approved the commission of the practice through the SKMT. Later on, the same evening at a private TV programme, he repeated the allegations.