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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday decided to form a larger bench to hear a petition seeking the disqualification of former premier Imran Khan as a lawmaker for “concealing” the name his alleged daughter in his nomination papers.

A single bench of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of a citizen, Muhammad Sajid, seeking disqualification of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman.

During the hearing, the associate of Salman Akram Raja, who is representing Khan, informed the bench that Raja could not appear before the court due to engagements in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He added that a reply had been submitted to the court on behalf of the PTI chairman.

Justice Aamer noted that Imran had stated in his reply that he ceased to be a member of the Parliament, therefore, the court could not proceed against him. The lawyer said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) itself had also de-notified Imran.

The IHC chief justice said that it would be appropriate that the new situation regarding Imran Khan is determined. He added that the affidavit that has been referred to in the plea is from 2018. The assistant lawyer representing Imran insisted that the ECP had de-seated Imran and he also had resigned.

The judge also noted that an objection was also raised against the IHC’s bench hearing this case. He remarked that he had not recused as one of the judges hearing the same case in 2018 (filed by Abdul Wahab Baloch) on personal reasons, instead, the petitioner had then prayed to the court to fix the case before a certain bench.

Then, the IHC chief justice said that he was forming a larger bench as the objection had been raised against him by the respondent.

Khan’s lawyer reiterated that the ECP had de-notified his client after he resigned from the National Assembly seat. He prayed the court to adjourn the case till March as there was no need to show haste in this particular case.

Imran’s lawyer Salman Abuzar Niazi said that they respect the honourable judge and they had just presented some information.

Later, the IHC bench deferred the hearing till February 9 for further proceedings in this matter.

In this matter, the petitioner is seeking disqualification of the PTI chief, an MNA from the NA-95 Mianwali-I constituency, contending that all candidates contesting elections for either national or provincial assemblies are required to furnish an affidavit with respect to their credentials and assets.

He said that one such information is about the children who are dependent on a candidate, and in this connection, Imran had wrongly mentioned two children including “Qasim Khan and Sulaiman Khan” and had omitted the third.

He claimed, “The respondent no. 1 [Imran Khan] has deliberately and willfully failed to declare his daughter Tyrian White in the relevant columns of the nomination papers and the affidavit appended therewith, hence he is not sagacious, righteous, honest and a man of good character in terms of Article 62 of the Constitution.”

He also said that “Article 62 of the Constitution, as interpreted by various judgments of the superior courts, prescribes that a candidate shall only qualify to be elected as a member of the National Assembly if he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions; and he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices; obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstaining from major sins.”

The petitioner urged the court to summon the former prime minister and inquire about the reasons for the violation of Article 62 of the Constitution, which says, “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless — he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law”.

He also prayed to the court to question Imran for “submitting a false declaration and affidavit and as to why he should be allowed to be a member of the parliament … and may not be de-seated in all accumulated consequences for the violation of the Constitution and the law.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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