ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday summoned Prime Minister Imran Khan to record his response in an Rs10 billion defamation case he has filed against PML-N leader Khawaja Asif.
A high court bench, headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, heard Asif’s plea challenging Additional District and Session Judge Muhammad Adnan’s ruling to abolish the defendant’s right to conduct cross-examination of PM Imran Khan’s statement.
During the hearing, Asif’s counsel informed the court that the trial court ruled out their right to conduct cross-examination on the premier’s statement.
At this, Justice Minallah inquired when the defamation suit had been under trial and who is responsible for the delay in its conclusion.
Responding to the judge’s question, the council said that the case was filed in 2012.
He said that the IHC had ordered a quick conclusion of defamation cases.
The verdict in the defamation case should have been announced within two months of its filing, the court remarked.
The IHC adjourned the hearing of Khawaja Asif’s plea till January 12 while restricting the sessions court from further proceeding in the defamation case.
Asif challenges trial court’s ruling
The PML-N leader had reached out to the IHC on Monday to challenge the sessions court’s ruling. In his plea filed through Advocate Gillani, Asif had nominated PM Imran Khan as a party and maintained that the defense lawyer had informed the trial court about his unavailability on the defamation case’s hearing on December 17, 2021, due to illness. In spite of this, the e-court recorded PM Imran Khan’s statement in absence of the defense lawyer.
The plea moves the IHC to nullify trial court’s ruling.
PM Imran Khan had virtually appeared before Additional District and Session Judge Muhammad Adnan on December 17, 2021, and verified his affidavit and signatures on the documents attached with it for hearing of Rs10 billion defamation suit he filed against Asif.
During the hearing, PM Imran Khan had said that he signed the affidavit in the oath commissioner’s presence. He said that the statement in the affidavit is based on truth.
Asif’s plea further stated that the trial court recorded statements by five witnesses presented by the prosecution during the period from April 1 to May 25, 2021.