IHC fixes for hearing Imran’s plea against ECP’s disqualification verdict

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday fixed for hearing former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petition, challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict to disqualify him in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference.

IHC Judge Justice Amir Farooq will conduct the hearing on the petition on Monday, October 31.

The former premier had challenged his disqualification in the IHC last week, asking the court to set aside the ECP decision.

However, the Registrar's Office raised several objections, including not attaching the biometric verification of the petitioner and a certified copy of the decision.

Despite the PTI chief’s insistence that his plea should be taken up last Saturday, the Registrar’s Office objected that the matter was not serious enough to be heard immediately.

Later, his counsel addressed the Registrar Office’s objections to the petition.

Earlier on October 23, the ECP had issued the detailed verdict in the Toshakhana reference against the former prime minister.

The ECP wrote in the verdict that the commission — under Article 63(1)(p) read with Article 63(2) — had the jurisdiction to entertain the reference forwarded by the National Assembly speaker, with respect to the disqualification of lawmakers.

The commission said Imran had admitted that he retained five gifts after paying a total amount of Rs11.68 million and that the total cost had been declared in the statement of assets and liabilities for the year 2020-21.

The same declaration has also been made in the tax returns for the year 2020-21. However, the PTI chairman, according to the ECP, declared them under the heading of personal use in his declaration when he should have declared them under the heading of moveable assets.

“No details of the gift items in regard to particulars of items have been disclosed in column number 3 of Form-B… the respondent was required to declare these items under various headings specifically defined in Form-B under the main heading of moveable assets,” the ECP added.

Also read: Imran challenges ECP verdict in IHC

The ECP wrote in the verdict that after hearing arguments from both sides and reviewing the evidence, it had reached to the conclusion that Imran “deliberately concealed” facts by not disclosing the details of gifts in the statement of his assets and liabilities for the year 2018-19, nor accounting for the sale proceed.

Defamation case against CEC

Separately, Imran Khan on Saturday announced that he would file a defamation suit against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in Toshakhana reference and prohibited funding case.

“I will file a defamation lawsuit against CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja in Toshakhana reference and foreign funding case”.

The PTI chairman regretted that the law was different for the powerful and helpless in the country. He underscored the need for the supremacy of law in the country.

Last week, PTI moved a reference before the Supreme Judicial Council against CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja.

PTI leader Dr Babar Awan moved the reference, and pleaded with the SJC to order removal of the CEC on account of the “commission of continuous and deliberate misconduct”.

The PTI claimed that Sikandar Raja Sultan had violated the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct and failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations.

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