ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, the senior attorney and the top judge had another “interesting” verbal encounter, one day after Latif Khosa, the senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), stated that he was not willing to pursue a matter before Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa.
While representing a client in an appeal pertaining to a service concern, Khosa appeared before the Supreme Court and asked that PTI founder Imran Khan’s appeal against his disqualification in the Toshakhana case be fixed.
Khosa’s appeal was made the day after the party dropped its December 26, 2023, case against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), alleging that it had neglected to guarantee an even playing field in advance of the next elections.
Khosa had stated, “We do not want to fight this case in your [CJP Isa’s] court,” when he appeared in court on Monday. Many thanks for it.”
“If you don’t accept the verdict, then there’s nothing the [court] can do. You are destroying all the institutions of Pakistan,” the top judge said in response.
But when the PTI leader brought up the Toshakhana case during today’s hearing, the chief judge said, “On the one hand, you express distrust over the judiciary; on the other hand, you also seek relief [for your clients].”
CJP Isa said, “Khosa sahib, you hurl allegations [against us] when outside the court.”
Khosa was assured by the chief justice that the court would make sure that all available relief under the law is provided; thus, he was instructed to file the request for an early hearing.
The chief justice’s comments coincide with the top court’s refusal, on December 27, to hear Khan’s appeal against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision, which dismissed his petition for a trial to stay his conviction in the Toshakhana case. The court cited the judges’ unavailability due to winter vacation.
The discussion takes place against the backdrop of the PTI’s severe defeat, which occurred when the three-member bench led by the chief justice upheld the ECP’s appeal against the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision to annul the electoral body’s decision to remove the party’s “bat” symbol due to “illegal” intra-party polls.
The court said in a unanimous ruling on January 13 that “it cannot be stated that the ECP was victimising PTI” because the ECP had been urging PTI to have its intra-party elections on May 24, 2021, when the party was in power.
The party is now “high and dry” ahead of the polls on February 8 due to the verdict since its candidates will now need to run independently.