Wednesday April 24, 2024

ECP seeks Imran Khan's response in case of his removal as PTI chairman

ECP had initiated process to strip Imran Khan of PTI's chairmanship following his disqualification in Toshakhana reference last year

By Nausheen Yousaf
February 15, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan speaking to media at his Bani Gala residence in this undated photo. — AFP
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan speaking to media at his Bani Gala residence in this undated photo. — AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has been directed to submit a response in the case to strip him of the PTI chairmanship on the basis of his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

The ECP had initiated the process to remove Khan as the chairman of PTI following his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference last year.

At the outset of the hearing before an ECP's bench, Khan's lawyer pleaded to the bench to dismiss the plea as the petitioner, Advocate Muhammad Afaq Ahmed wasn't appearing for the proceedings.

At this, ECP's KP member Ikramullah asked the lawyer to continue his arguments and this matter would be looked into later.

The lawyer, Barrister Gohar, maintained that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had stopped the ECP from stripping Khan of the PTI chairmanship on his plea challenging the electoral body's notice.

Responding to the argument, Ikramullah maintained that the court's stay seemed to be relevant to the extent of giving the declaration of Khan's disqualification.

Barrister Gohar said that the LHC had forwarded the matter to the full bench court.

At this, Ikramullah asked Khan's lawyer to provide a copy of the former premier's plea, on which the LHC had issued the stay order.

Meanwhile, ECP's Balochistan member argued that the LHC hadn't barred the electoral body from terminating the case.

Khan's lawyer presented a counterargument, saying that the ECP had taken a suo motu action in the case filed by Advocate Afaq.

At this, Ikramullah snapped back and said that neither the ECP takes a suo motu action nor did it have any such prerogative.

A notice is being issued to the petitioner as well to know whether he was interested in pursuing the case.

Later, the bench issued notice to Khan and the petitioner and adjourned the hearing till March 7.

LHC stops ECP from stripping Imran Khan of PTI chairmanship

Last month, the LHC ordered the Election Commission to refrain from taking disciplinary action against Khan related to his removal as PTI chairman, while accepting his plea against the electoral body's notice.

In his petition, Khan maintained that the ECP initiated the process for his removal as the party chair after his disqualification from the National Assembly's NA-95 seat.

The petition read that the ECP issued the notice over allegedly submitting a "false statement"; however, it cannot play the role of a tribunal.

The former premier requested the court to set aside the ECP's notice while declaring and holding the assumption of jurisdiction and taking of cognisance by the electoral body for his removal as party chairman as envisaged by the said notice, "illegal, ultra vires (beyond) the powers of ECP, contrary to the Constitution, and of no legal effect".