Solace for Imran

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OF course, it is not a formal verdict but still the remarks of the Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah that there was no restriction on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman to contest elections would serve as a source of satisfaction in the given circumstances.

During hearing of the petition against the verdict of the Election Commission in the Toshakhana case, the judge observed that under the law Imran Khan was only disqualified from the seat he held currently.

If he wants to contest again, he can do so, there is no bar on him, he added. The court rejected the plea of the petitioner for suspension of the order of the Commission but remarks clearly conveyed an impression of what would be the final outcome of the judicial examination of the ECP decision even if it was not reversed.

According to interpretation of the verdict by some legal minds, Imran stands disqualified not just from his original Mianwali seat but also for the six seats he recently won in the by-elections and that the disqualification would remain operational for the current term of the National Assembly.

However, as per interpretation of the IHC Chief Justice, the disqualification is confined to the seat Imran currently holds and there is no bar on him to contest future elections.

This is important as Imran was scheduled to contest by-elections and he can stage a comeback to Parliament if he wants to do so.

The court understandably rejected the plea for instant relief through suspension of the ECP order pointing out there was no urgency as Imran Khan was not going to Parliament.

Otherwise too, the remarks of the court that the Commission is an institution and its decisions cannot be treated as such should serve as an eye-opener for those who want to make the institutions controversial for the sake of petty politics.

The Election Commission has taken a decision under the powers and authority delegated to it by the Constitution and the law, therefore, there was no justification to launch attacks against the Commission for issuing orders that strictly fall within its purview.

 

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