IHC CJ Athar Minallah to hear PTI’s petition filed against ECP’s verdict over disqualification of Imran Khan tomorrow
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Former prime minister and Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Saturday filed a plea in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to disqualify him over what the electoral watchdog cited as his failure to properly account for monetary proceeds from the sale of Toshakhana gifts while he was premier. The IHC rejected the request of holding urgent hearing on the petition on Saturday.
The matter will be taken up by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on this coming Monday. Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries. According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.
A reference alleging that Imran Khan had not shared details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana and proceeds from their reported sales was filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition in August, and the ECP concluded on Friday that the former premier had indeed made “false statement and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts — a ruling that prompted widespread protests by the PTI.
The watchdog’s order said Imran Khan stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution. On Saturday, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, filed on his behalf a writ petition in the IHC, praying that the order be declared against the settled principles of law on Article 63. The plea further urged the court to declare the ECP’s order misconceived and set it aside. Imran Khan also sought a court declaration stating that the ECP lacked the jurisdiction to decide “any questions of ‘corrupt practices and disqualification’” under the Election Act and Election Rules, 2017.
Moreover, his plea read, “Declare that the [disqualification] reference itself is incompetent, illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority, mala fide and devoid of force and in the circumstances of the instant case, declare it null and void in the interest of justice.” In the meanwhile, the plea added, the court may kindly suspend the operation of the ECP’s order and restrain further proceedings by the ECP or its behest till its disposal. The ECP, the National Assembly (NA) speaker and NA secretary and multiple members of the Lower House of Parliament have been nominated as respondents in the plea.
Along with this plea, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar also submitted an application seeking the hearing of the case on Saturday. However, the court rejected his plea and scheduled the hearing for October 24.
Later, Barrister Zafar confirmed that the plea had been fixed for Monday and expressed the hope that the ECP’s decision would be overturned.
After the petition was filed, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry blamed the “establishment’s thoughtlessness” for the “political crisis” that the country was witnessing at present, adding that the responsibility to mend the lay with both politicians and institutions. “The worsened situation in Pakistan, the political crisis that has been created, wouldn’t have emerged in the first place had the establishment’s role — about which it is now being said that it will remain apolitical remained apolitical earlier,” Fawad Chaudhry told journalists in Islamabad when asked whether he believed the ECP was facing pressure from anyone.