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Federal Govt makes arrangements for virtual appearance of Imran Khan in NAB amendment case hearing by IHC

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has finalized arrangements to ensure that former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently incarcerated, can appear before the Supreme Court bench via video link in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments case today (Thursday).

Sources said that these preparations were made in response to the Supreme Court’s directives, which instructed the Centre and the Punjab government to facilitate a video link for the imprisoned PTI founder, allowing him to present his arguments.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa stated on Tuesday, “The PTI founder can present his arguments in the upcoming hearing via video link if he wishes to do so […] arrangements should be made for the presentation of arguments via video link.”

CJP Isa’s comments were made during the hearing of the federal government’s intra-court appeal against the Supreme Court’s 2023 decision that invalidated certain NAB amendments.

The five-member Supreme Court larger bench, headed by CJP Isa and including Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi, will resume the case hearing on May 16.

Khan, held in Adiala Jail, expressed a desire to appear in person to present his arguments. However, the court permitted him to do so via video link.

Since his arrest following a conviction in the Toshakhana case in August last year, Khan has remained out of the public eye. He was subsequently convicted in other cases, including those involving cipher and illegal marriage, keeping him behind bars despite securing bail in some instances.

If Khan appears via video link, it will mark his first public virtual appearance in nearly 10 months.

Adiala Jail sources confirmed that arrangements for Khan’s video link appearance were made per the Supreme Court’s directives, though it remains his choice whether to use this option. The authorities will ensure his virtual appearance before the court if he decides to proceed.

In September 2023, a three-member Supreme Court bench had approved Khan’s petition challenging amendments to the country’s accountability laws made during the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government. Headed by then-Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and including Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the court held over 50 hearings.

In a majority 2-1 verdict, the court restored graft cases against public office holders that had been closed due to the amendments, declaring the changes void and reinstating all graft cases worth less than Rs500 million.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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