ISLAMABAD: Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar, renowned for his conviction of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, resulting in a three-year imprisonment in the Toshakhana case, has been designated as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD), according to official sources.
Chief Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sanctioned ADSJ Dilawar’s transfer to this “newly-created post” within the high court’s domain. The move follows the judge’s plea in light of mounting threats directed at him and his family, stemming from his controversial judgment.
The verdict issued by the IHC, as communicated by an additional registrar, states, “In the interest of public welfare, the esteemed chief justice of this court has directed the subsequent transfer/posting of ADSJ from the Islamabad Judicial Service.”
Dilawar’s request for transfer was rooted in the escalating threats he and his family received, especially after his verdict against Khan. Notably, his application to the IHC registrar outlined, “I respectfully submit that I have recently adjudicated a case involving violations of the Election Act 2017, under sections 167 and 173 of the same act. The case titled District Election Commissioner Islamabad versus Imran Ahmad Niazi pertained to the conviction of the chairman of a prominent political party.”
Judge Humayun Dilawar’s reassignment materialized following a surge of social media campaigns and global threats targeted at him, notably post his judgment against Khan. These events adversely impacted his family and personal life, including his children’s ability to attend school without interference.
Furthermore, during an educational visit to the University of Hull in the UK, Dilawar encountered distressing situations, as did other members of the judicial community present.
Amid this backdrop, the judge appealed to higher authorities for a transfer to a different jurisdiction, preferably within the specialized courts of the Judicial Complex G-11 or the Islamabad High Court.
In an unrelated development, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, ousted in April of the prior year via a no-confidence motion, was apprehended from his Lahore residence on August 5. The detainment followed his indictment in the Toshakhana case, overseen by ADSJ Dilawar. The case revolves around allegations of misconduct in connection with the possession and trading of state-received gifts during Khan’s tenure, totaling more than PKR 140 million ($635,000).
Challenging Khan’s plea to reject the case’s admissibility, ADSJ Dilawar handed down a three-year imprisonment sentence, accompanied by a fine and an arrest warrant. Dilawar’s verdict affirmed that the accused had engaged in corrupt practices, misrepresenting assets and submitting false declarations.
In an interim hearing held earlier today, an IHC bench, comprising Chief Justice Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, assessed Khan’s request for suspension of his conviction. The IHC chief justice noted that the plea was at a pivotal juncture and revealed the court’s intentions to postpone a decision until the upcoming Monday, expressing the court’s divergence from the trial court’s approach.
Furthermore, on August 23, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial criticized the hastiness of the trial court’s verdict in the Toshakhana case. The observation was made during a Supreme Court hearing on the PTI chairman’s petition, contesting the IHC’s decision to relocate the Toshakhana case to a different court.
The Toshakhana case pertains to the governance of government-offered gifts, permitting officials to retain items of nominal value and requiring a reduced fee for extravagant gifts. Khan’s alleged mismanagement of these gifts, purchasing them at nominal rates and subsequently profiting by selling them, triggered the investigation.
The investigation spotlighted the acquisition of watches, including those bestowed by royalty. The charges also implicated the trading of wristwatches, particularly a “Master Graff limited edition” with an estimated value of PKR 85 million ($385,000). The Election Commission, having deemed the former premier guilty of corrupt practices, pursued the matter, culminating in a formal complaint in an Islamabad court in October 2022.