ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to start regular hearing of the Toshakhana Reference against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, sent under articles 62A, 63A and 223 by the Speaker National Assembly here on Thursday (today). The ECP has already notified the PTI chairman who would be represented by his legal team.
The ECP issued a cause list to hear the Toshakhana reference against PTI Chairman Imran Khan Niazi under Law/2022 (5) 12 on Aug 18 (today). The disqualification reference has been field by Ali Gohar Khan, PMLN’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha and five others under Article 63. The reference will be taken up by ECP’s full court presided by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and comprising Member Sindh Justice (retd) Nisar Durrani, KP’s Justice (retd) Ikramullah, Balochistan’s Justice (retd) Shah Mohammad Jatoi and former federal secretary Babar Bharwana.
The ECP’s full bench would scrutinise the annual statements of assets submitted by PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan. If the ECP establishes that the former PM has not submitted the details of gifts worth Rs15 crore, wilful concealment would be considered a corrupt practice and thereby it would allow the ECP to conduct disqualification proceedings against the PTI chairman.
According to PMLN MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Imran Khan concealed information about the gift of watches by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his statement of assets submitted in 2018-2019. This withholding of information is tantamount to lying which, according to MNA Mohsin Ranjha, is a crime under Section 137 declaring that Imran Khan is no more Sadiq and Ameen, slapping disqualification for life from contesting election under Article 62(1)(f), Article 2, Article 3 of the Constitution. The Article 62(1)(f) is the same legal instrument that disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections and led to his removal from power, Ranjha says.
The ECP Full Court would seek replies to the accusation of concealing information from PTI Chairman Imran Khan through his legal team and by Sept 2022, the ECP would give its verdict on declaring him disqualified or not from contesting polls.
According to former secretary ECP Kanwar Dilshad, the ECP is bound to give a verdict on the Speaker’s reference within 30 days, followed by filing of appeal by the defendant within 30 days. Thereafter, the Supreme Court is bound to give a verdict within 90 days of filing of the appeal under the Constitution.
According to an earlier ruling by the Islamabad High Court judge Justice Mian Gul Aurangzeb, the Toshakhana gifts to a political personality or official by a foreign government need to be deposited to the Toshakhana. He said the ECP can seek report from the Cabinet Division on the gifts of Toshakhana and can seek record of the gifts mentioned in the reference.
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