Imran Khan Defends Himself in NAB Amendments Case via Historic Virtual Appearance in Supreme Court

In an unprecedented event, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, made his first appearance before the Supreme Court via video link. This marked his first public appearance since his arrest nine months ago. The founder of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) was seen in Adiala Jail, where he is currently serving a three-year sentence for corruption.


This event marked a historic moment as it was the first time a former Prime Minister of Pakistan appeared before the Supreme Court in such a manner.

The SC had ordered the federal and Punjab governments to facilitate a video link for Khan, who is currently incarcerated. The former prime minister was scheduled to appear before the SC at 11:30 am on May 16, 2024, in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments case.

The Adiala jail administration had informed Khan about his appearance via video link. A trial run of the video link was conducted by the top court’s staff and jail authorities prior to Khan’s appearance. The PTI founder had the option to present his arguments in the upcoming hearing via video link.

The case was heard by a five-member SC larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The bench also included Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi. The same bench was scheduled to hear the NAB case on May 16.

Khan, who has been out of sight since August 2023 following his conviction in the Toshakhana case, had expressed his desire to appear in the top court in person to present his arguments. However, the court allowed him to defend himself via video link.

Despite obtaining bail in some cases, Khan remained imprisoned after being found guilty in several cases, including cypher and unlawful marriage. According to the Adiala jail authorities, Khan’s video link appearance was scheduled in accordance with the apex court’s orders.

During the hearing, Khan was seen dressed in a light-blue shirt. His appearance was not broadcast live, unlike the previous hearing. This decision sparked demands from PTI leaders for the resumption of live broadcasts.

In an unexpected turn of events, a picture of Khan attending the court hearing via video link was leaked on social media. The image, which showed Khan seated in a room, was also shared by the PTI. This incident led to the commencement of a probe by the Supreme Court administration to identify the person responsible for the leak.

The hearing was part of a series of intra-court appeals moved by the federal government and a private citizen, Zuhair Ahmed Siddiqui. The appeals were against the apex court’s decision to declare amendments to NAO 2000 as unconstitutional.

Senior counsel Khawaja Haris, who had represented Khan in the first round of litigation, appeared before the court for legal assistance. Makhdoom Ali Khan was present on behalf of the federal government.

This event has sparked widespread discussion and speculation. As the proceedings continue, the nation awaits further developments with bated breath.

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