Monday, November 28, 2022

Imran challenges Pak EC’s disqualification ruling

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday challenged in Islamabad High Court the top election body’s decision to disqualify him from holding public office for five years in the Toshakhana case for hiding proceeds from the sale of gifts he received from foreign leaders.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician lost membership of the parliament, as well as, barred from contesting elections for five years after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday found him guilty of hiding the proceeds from the sale of precious gifts.
He filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through his counsel Barrister Ali Zafar.
Zafar appealed to the court to take up the case immediately for a hearing on Saturday.
The IHC accepted the appeal but observed that the matter was not urgent to be dealt with on the same day as the application was filed and set the hearing on Monday.
The Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief in his appeal said that the ECP had no power to make decisions on corrupt practices or disqualify people, requesting the court to suspend the body’s ruling until the final decision on the appeal.
The filing of the appeal put Khan on a path to go through a gruelling legal battle to regain his political turf in the wake of his disqualification.
However, there is confusion about whether the five-year disqualification would apply only to the five years term of the current assembly, or whether the disqualification period would start from the date of the verdict by the ECP.
The tenure of the current national assembly began in August 2018 and would be completed in 2023. Khan already tendered his resignation as a lawmaker in April but it was not accepted.
In this case, his disqualification would end with the expiry of the tenure of the assembly.
In his recorded message issued after two back-to-back meetings of his party soon after the damning verdict, Khan rejected the charges and vowed to contest his disqualification legally and not through street protests.
Dawn newspaper in a report about Khan’s upcoming legal battle said that his party had announced to challenge the disqualification before the Islamabad High Court (IHC), but Khan has to face another trial before a sessions judge as the ECP has forwarded a complaint against him for submitting false declarations about concealing the gifts.

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