Imran Khan’s disqualification: IHC refuses to suspend ECP’s verdict

Stop commission from issuing schedule for by-election on vacant seat
Oct 31, 2022
<p>Imran Khan. Photo: Online</p>

Imran Khan. Photo: Online

The Islamabad High Court has refused to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision disqualifying former prime minister Imran Khan from his national assembly seat.

The court said that it will not suspend the election commission’s ruling until it hears all the parties. Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC decided to stop the ECP from issuing the election schedule for the by-elections on the vacant seat.

The IHC on Monday issued a notice to the ECP over a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan challenging the poll body’s decision to deseat him.

The petition was heard by a single member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq. Barrister Ali Zafar appeared before the court on behalf of Imran Khan to challenge his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.

During Monday’s proceedings, the court asked if the reference had been filed with the ECP by the National Assembly speaker.

Ali Zafar responded in the affirmative. However, he said that ECP’s questions have to be answered within 90 days.

Imran’s counsel further said that every member of the National Assembly has been bound to submit details of their assets on June 30. If any member fails to submit them within 120 days or provides false information, that person will be declared as corrupt.

He added the punishment for giving false information is imprisonment for up to three years and a fine, but it does not mention disqualification or being deseated.

Barrister Ali Zafar argued that the commission does not have the right to give a verdict on corrupt practices, therefore the decision of his client’s disqualification should be struck down.

After hearing all the arguments, Justice Farooq decided that the court will not suspend the ECP’s ruling but decided to stop the by-elections announced on the seat.

The also issued a notice to the ECP against Imran Khan’s disqualification.

Incorrect decision

While speaking to the media outside the court, Barrister Zafar said that per the law and constitution, the ECP’s decision was incorrect because the documents submitted by his client could not be reviewed.

The commission can take a decision on the basis of a trial but without a trial, they can not announce any verdict. Furthermore, he pointed out that the ECP’s ruling itself notes that a trial court will give the final decision.

##Imran Khan disqualified

The ECP had disqualified PTI chief Imran Khan in Toshakhana reference on October 23 from holding public office.

The former prime minister, who recently won by-elections from seven National Assembly seats, will no longer be able to retain his seat, including NA-95 Mianwali.

“The respondent has intentionally and deliberately violated the provisions contained Section 137,167 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017, who has made false Statement and incorrect declaration before the Commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21. Hence, attracts disqualification under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution read with section 137 and 173 of the Elections Act,2017,” –– the verdict reads.

The commission said that Imran Khan has been found guilty of corrupt practices.

He has been disqualified under 163-P. This, however, is not a lifetime disqualification.

Imran Khan

Toshakhana reference


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