Fate of Imran Khan hangs in the balance
THE Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified Mr. Imran Khan for making a false statement and incorrect declaration in the Speaker’s reference as per Article 63.1. Following the verdict, Imran Khan would seize to be the PTI chairman as per a February 2018 judgment by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar that an individual disqualified under Article 62 and 63 .1 of the Constitution was not eligible to head a political party.
In the light of this judgment Mr. Nawaz Sharif had to quit from PML-N presidency. In this regards those candidates who filed nomination papers to contest Senate election to be held on 7th March 2018 had been declared void because Mr. Nawaz Sharif had put his signatures on the papers.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has relied on Section 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act 2017; these Sections empower the ECP to file a complaint in case of any mis-declaration.
In its unanimous decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan said, “We are of the considered opinion that Mr. Imran Khan has become disqualified under Article 63.1.P of the Constitution read with Section 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act 2017, consequently Mr. Imran Khan ceases to be a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and his seat has become vacant accordingly”. By making a false declaration, Imran Khan indulged in corrupt practices defined under section 167 and Section 173 of the same Act.
ECP directed legal proceedings against Imran Khan and follow-up action under Section 190.2 of the Elections Act.According to ECP’s decision, Imran Khan did not disclose details of gifts in the statement of his assets and liabilities for the years 2018, 2019 and the sale proceeds.
He did not provide details of the gift items required column number 3 of form B, it said, adding that the PTI leader also failed to annex the details of cash and bank accounts of the sale proceeds. The amount allegedly received in his bank account does not commensurate with the assessed value of the gift items.
In the decision it is said that Imran Khan deliberately concealed material facts by making evasive and ambiguous statements in his response.
Imran Khan has intentionally and deliberately violated the provisions, has made false statements and incorrect declaration for the year 2020-21, hence, attracts disqualification under Article 63.1.P read with Section 137 and 173.Unfortunately as prime minister, Imran Khan was not a success. His image as a savoir was seriously sullied.
His followers are aware that Imran Khan may not be an angel. But, compared to his rivals, the youth and most probably a considerable majority of the poorer classes do indeed see him as an angel.
The following, accordingly, assumes elections will be held on schedule and Imran Khan will be able to lead his party into them, its voice of people that Pakistan will need a leadership respected by the people and that choice can only be made by the people.
The country is in a crisis yet we seem to be making attempt after attempts to put out fires with petrol.
Our civilian leaders should realise that they must sit together, set rules and negotiate a way-out of the present crisis.
There are no winners where things stand at the moment, and it would be folly to ignore the growing discontent and anger in the hyperpolarized citizenry any longer. The political stalemate must be broken unless the parties wish to rule a country broken by an economic crisis and divided bitterly along partisan lines.
There will be little left but ashes to rule if things continue in the manner that they have in the past few months.Pakistan is reeling. It needs its judiciary, establishment, parliament and politicians to look beyond their noses and to the future.
It doesn’t need fighting, but rather unity. Unfortunately, we shall continue to wait, till the situation deteriorates to such an extent that we can wait no longer. Such is our existence.
According to government circles, the public reaction to Imran Khan’s disqualification in the speaker’s references about Toshakhana case was not high as the government and other institutions had expected.
Apparently, the inadequate reaction also upset Mr. Imran Khan who then had to ask his followers to call off their protest against the Election Commission of Pakistan in various parts of the country.
In the wake of inadequate public reaction, the Chairman PTI is uncertain whether he would be able to pull an ample number of people to streets or not for the much trumpeted long march.
The Election Commission of Pakistan verdict in the Toshakhana case said Imran Khan had not declared in returns, the income he had generated by selling foreign gifts he obtained as Prime Minister during the four years.
The government is thinking that it is quite difficult to change the mindset of PTI supporters even if Imran Khan was found guilty in any case, yet the recent Toshakhana case verdict might have raised some questions in their mind. On the other hand it is learned a comprehensive plan is ready to hold the long march.
—The writer is former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.