Tuesday February 20, 2024

IHC halts ECP from holding by-poll on Imran's vacated Mianwali seat

IHC hears Imran Khan's petition against disqualification in Toshakhana reference, issues notice to ECP

October 31, 2022
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court rejected the request of PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan's lawyer to immediately suspend Khan's disqualification in the Toshakhana reference. However, the court stopped the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from holding a by-election on the vacant Mianwali seat.

The NA-95 Mianwali-I seat  was declared vacant by the electoral body following  Khan’s disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.

IHC's Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition against  Khan's disqualification, in which Barrister Ali Zafar appeared before the court on behalf of the PTI chairman.

At the start of the hearing, Justice Farooq asked whether the lawyer had submitted any request to submit additional documents. At this,  Zafar said that a request has been made to add the  ECP notification. "Imran Khan has been declared ineligible as a member of the assembly," he said.

“Was this reference submitted by the speaker?” asked Justice Farooq. To which, Zafar responded in the affirmative.

While arguing about the case, the legal counsel told the court that once the speaker sends a reference to the ECP it has to submit its findings regarding the case. He added that the constitutional body has to do so within 90 days.

Zafar also informed the court that each lawmaker has to submit their asset details by June 30. If something is sold,  the proceeds have to be disclosed as well, said the lawyer.

“If any member assembly does not tell these details, his membership is suspended. If the return is not submitted within 120 days or if the information is given wrongly, then the member can be considered being involved in corrupt practices,” said Zafar.

The lawyer contended that there was no penalty or disqualification for misdeclaration but a person can be imprisoned for up to three years and be fined.

“The law says that the crime of misdeclaration will be held in the trial session court, which can be punished,” said Zafar. He also added that the ECP in the case plays the role of the complainant.

“ECP has exceeded its authority by passing the decision of disqualification. Currently, there is no justification for disqualification, it is possible only after the trial,” said Zafar.

 Khan's lawyer pleaded that the decision of his client's disqualification be suspended, on which Justice Farooq said that we are not suspending the decision of the ECP and issued orders to stop the by-election in Mianwali.

Later, the court also issued a notice to the ECP on the petition against  Khan's disqualification.

It should be noted that  Khan has challenged the ECP's decision of disqualification in the Toshakhana reference in the IHC.

In the petition,  Khan has requested the Supreme Court to declare the disqualification decision illegal.