Imran Khan can contest upcoming by-polls: observes IHC Chief Justice


Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday observed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan will not face any problem contesting the upcoming by-polls, adding that the former PM had not been barred from contesting in future elections.

The observations of CJ Athar Minallah came on Monday during the hearing of a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the Toshakhana reference.

Today’s hearing

At the outset of today’s hearing, Imran’s lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, urged the IHC to start hearing the petition despite objections by the registrar. He apprised the court that his client had been disqualified ahead of the by-election in Kurram.

To Zafar’s argument, CJ remarked that Imran Khan had not been disqualified for that election. He observed that there was no need to rush in this case and maintained that there should be one standard for all.

During the hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar requested the court to issue a stay order on the verdict. CJ Athar Minallah pointed out that the ECP’s detailed judgment was not available yet.

“Which verdict should the court stay?” he asked.

The court expected a copy of the judgment to be released within three days, adding that if it did not happen, then the court would look into the matter.

CJ Athar Minallah directed Imran’s lawyer to remove the registrar’s objections within three days and adjourned the case.

ECP disqualifies Imran

The ECP had disqualified PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Friday in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

The verdict by the ECP had found Imran Khan involved in corrupt practices and ordered the initiation of criminal proceedings against the former PM for misdeclaration. However, the detailed judgment has still not been issued by the ECP, causing many to question the decision.

Imran moves IHC

Despite waiting for nearly a day after the announcement of the decision, Imran Khan had approached the IHC on Saturday against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision.

Imran Khan’s counsel, Barrister Ali Zafar, had filed the petition seeking the IHC to annul the decision of the ECP.

The two-page petition of Imran Khan asked the IHC to declare, find and hold that the ECP order is against the settled principles of law on Article 63 of the Constitution, misconceived and set it aside. It mentioned the question of “any disqualification” can only arise after a trial and in case a person is found guilty of corrupt practices by the Tribunal.

It said that even if a person is found guilty of corrupt practice through a proper trial by a Tribunal, then the disqualification is not automatic but only if it is found to be also deliberate, intentional, or for an ulterior motive.

The registrar had objected to the petition as the PTI chief Imran Khan did not undergo a biometric verification, and the ECP verdict disqualifying the former prime minister was not attached to the application.

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