Court records ECP official's statement in Toshakhana reference

A district and sessions court recorded on Tuesday the statement of the district election commissioner in the Toshakhana reference against deposed former premier Imran Khan, adjourning the hearing till December 8.

Criminal proceedings were initiated against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief with regard to the Toshakhana reference filed against him at a district and sessions court in Islamabad.

Last month, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified the deposed premier under Article 63(1)(p) in the Toshakhana reference.

A four-member bench of the ECP declared Imran's National Assembly seat vacant as it unanimously decided that he had misled officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister.

The written ruling read that the PTI chief had “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions contained in sections 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017 as he submitted a “false statement” and “incorrect declaration” to the ECP in the details of his assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21.

Read Imran summoned as criminal proceeding in Toshakhana reference begins

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal conducted the hearing today as the complainant, District Election Commissioner Waqas Malik, appeared before the court.

In his affidavit, the election commissioner stated that he was “authorised to follow the ECP verdict of November 21”.

“I have been given the authority to proceed by combining Section 190 with 16 and 173 of the Election Act 2017,” he continued, “this proceeding concerns the corrupt practices of Imran Khan”.

“According to the Election Act, 2017, members of the National Assembly and senators are legally bound to submit details of their declarations by December 31 every year,” he added.

The commissioner also informed the court that Imran Khan had submitted his returns for all years from 2018 till 2021. However, the ECP has included the gazette notifications of 2018 and 2019 in the affidavit while the same for years 2020 and 2021 are yet to be presented.

The affidavit also made notice of the authority that rests with the ECP to see to the disqualification of a member of the National Assembly on the basis of a reference.

During the proceedings, the court inquired if the commissioner had been “sent after being pressurised into coming and filling the reference”.

“I am just curious,” the judge added smiling, “if you are not in the mood then just let me know”.

Read more Govt moves swiftly to drag PTI to court

“I am doing my duty,” the commissioner responded.

Later, the judge prohibited Imran Khan’s lawyer from submitting his bank statement saying “you cannot submit a photocopy, it must be certified”.

“There is no concept of a photocopy if it is attested,” the judge added.

“If you agree, we can grant a break until they acquire a certified copy,” the judge said addressing the ECP official’s lawyer who agreed that a “system-generated copy is not considered certified as the documents contains no signatures”.

The judge then ordered Imran’s lawyer to present a certified copy and said “we will then resume the proceedings”.

However, Imran’s lawyer requested the court to “record the election commissioner’s statements today” and said that “a certified copy can be submitted with another witness later”.

Adjourning the matter, the court recorded the district election commissioner’s affidavit and postponed proceedings.

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