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Print Print 2022-10-25

No bar on Imran Khan to contest by-poll on 30th: IHC

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s request to...
Published October 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s request to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to disqualify him in the Toshakhana (gift depository) case.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday heard the petition moved by the former prime minister through his lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar challenging the ECP’s decision to disqualify him. In his petition, he cited the secretary of the ECP, the speaker National Assembly, and others as respondents.

Rejecting his request to suspend the ECP’s decision, the IHC bench maintained the Registrar Office’s objection over his petition and directed him to first attach the verified copy of the verdict within three days. The registrar office had declared the petition as incomplete and raised several objections against it including lack of biometric verification and missing of a verified copy of the verdict of the ECP in Toshakhana case.

During the hearing, the IHC bench observed that Imran was only disqualified to the extent of the seat he was notified and he had not been barred from contesting in future elections following the ECP’s verdict in the Toshakhana reference against him. The court added that the former premier would not face any problems to contest in the NA-45 (Kurram-I) by-election scheduled to be held on October 30.

Imran Khan moves IHC against his disqualification

The IHC chief justice asked why the petitioner was in so haste in this case at the time when he was not attending the Parliament’s sessions. He made the observation that how it could suspend a decision of the ECP when the verified copy of the verdict was not before it.

Justice Minallah further remarked that a proceeding of the ECP was conducted under the constitution and Imran Khan could contest the elections as there was no restriction on him. The court noted that the decision attached to the petition had no signature of the concerned authority.

Imran Khan’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar argued that the ECP had not issued a detailed order so far and that they had downloaded the two-page decision from the website of the electoral body. He said that the ECP had disqualified his client and also sent this matter for further trial.

The counsel said that the decision had been discussed on media and the ECP had not issued any objection against it. He requested the court to seek the decision’s copy from the ECP. Ali Zafar said that an application had also been moved to the returning officer to stop his client from contesting the elections.

Justice Minallah said wait for the [written] verdict. Then, the counsel informed the court that the ECP had also directed to initiate legal proceedings against Imran. At this, the judge replied that the sessions court would hear that matter.

Later, the court directed the PTI’s counsel to remove the objections on the petition within three days and deferred the proceedings.

The petitioner stated in the petition that he filed his Statement of Assets and Liabilities for 2018, 2019 till 2021 in December 2018, 2019 till December 2021 and all assets or proceeds of sale thereof in the shape of money as the case had been, as were available on 30th June of each year had always been declared by the petitioner before the ECP.

The PTI chairman contended that if the ECP had any objection to any of the Statement of Assets and Liabilities filed by the petitioner or wanted any clarifications or additional details, under section 137 (4) ibid ECP could do so in 120 days and the ECP never raised any query or objection etc as required by Section 137(4) within 120 days.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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