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Wednesday February 21, 2024

Toshakhana case: IHC turns down Imran’s withdrawal plea

Former PM had filed appeal against electoral body’s verdict on October 28, 2022, and later sought its withdrawal on October 18, 2023

By Our Correspondent
December 07, 2023
This picture released on August 3, 2023, shows PTI Chairman Imran Khan while speaking in front of a camera. — Facebook/Imran Khan
This picture released on August 3, 2023, shows PTI Chairman Imran Khan while speaking in front of a camera. — Facebook/Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plea to withdraw his appeal challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict on his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.

The former prime minister had filed an appeal against the electoral body’s verdict on October 28, 2022, and later sought its withdrawal on October 18, 2023.

Khan sought withdrawal of the appeal at the IHC as the matter was pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the court’s decision, which was reserved on September 13 after hearing arguments of all the parties.

On October 21, 2022, the electoral watchdog, in a consensus verdict, had disqualified the former prime minister under Article 63(1)(p) and ruled that the PTI founder was no more a member of the National Assembly. He was disqualified for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

The ECP had stated that Khan submitted a false affidavit and was found involved in corrupt practices under Article 63(1)(p). The decision was taken unanimously by the electoral authority’s five-member bench.

The deposed prime minister challenged his disqualification in the IHC, praying to the court to set aside the judgment as he said the ECP had no jurisdiction over the matter.

In the meantime, a separate petition was filed in the LHC against Khan’s disqualification. The petition challenged the ECP’s relevant section under which the ex-PTI chief was disqualified.

Initially, the petitioner did not apprise the IHC about his second plea in the LHC over the same matter. Later, the PTI founder requested the IHC to allow him to withdraw his plea as he reportedly wanted the LHC to proceed with the case.

During the proceedings, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq expressed his annoyance over concealing the matter about the second petition in the LHC and remarked: “In principle, the case should proceed in the court where the appeal was filed first.”

Khan’s counsel argued that a larger bench of the LHC was hearing the case. After hearing the arguments from all sides, the IHC reserved its verdict on September 13, 2023.