Imran Fights Back, Petition Filed in Lahore HC


This comes after the ECP on August 8, disqualified the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chair for five years following his conviction in the Toshakhana case…reports Asian Lite News

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to disqualify him for five years, Dawn reported.

This comes after the ECP on August 8, disqualified the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chair for five years following his conviction in the Toshakhana case for concealing details of the gifts he received as the premier during his tenure.

An Islamabad trial court had found him guilty of “corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer wilfully and intentionally”.

“He cheated while providing information about gifts he obtained from Toshakhana which later proved to be false and inaccurate. His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” the court order stated.

In its notification, the ECP cited the trial court’s order and declared Imran disqualified under Article 63(1h) of the Constitution, read with Section 232 of the Elections Act, 2017, according to Dawn.

The clause states that a legislator can be disqualified if they are convicted of “any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release”. Notably, on August 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended Imran’s sentence in the case. The fresh petition was filed by PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan and Ali Zafar on Imran’s behalf.

The ECP was named as a respondent in the petition. It urged the court to declare the electoral watchdog’s notification disqualifying Imran “unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional”, Dawn reported.

The petition also urged the LHC to suspend the ECP’s notification till the final disposal of the case. “In the meanwhile, this court may kindly be pleased to suspend the operation of the impugned notification dated August 8, 2023, till final disposal of the titled petition,” it said.

The petition added that the court may grant “any other relief as deemed just and appropriate” in favour of the petitioner. Notably, ECP had also disqualified Imran in the Toshakhana reference in October 2022 under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”, Dawn reported.

The reference was filed against Imran by the former Pakistan Democratic Movement government, for “not sharing details” of Toshakhana gifts and proceeds from their alleged sale.

However, the full text of the 36-page order by the ECP was silent on lifetime or five-year disqualification for Imran. Subsequently, the then-IHC chief justice had observed that the law did not bar the former premier from contesting polls and the ECP had disqualified him only on his Mianwali seat for “concealing” details of Toshakhana gifts.

Earlier on Monday, the Islamabad HC had rejected Imran’s application to withdraw his appeal against disqualification in the Toshakhana reference in order to enable him to pursue the matter in the LHC, Dawn reported. (ANI)

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