Toshakhana reference: Imran’s petition against ECP fixed for 12th

Our Correspondent
Sunday, Apr 09, 2023

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) five-member larger bench would resume on April 12 hearing into a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against the proceedings of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to remove him from the party chairmanship following his disqualification in Toshakhana Reference.

Headed by Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan, the bench comprises Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Jawad Hassan. On January 30, the bench adjourned its hearing to wait for a decision by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on an application for the withdrawal of a similar petition by Imran Khan. A single bench had restrained the ECP from taking any adverse action against Imran Khan in its proceedings to stop him from heading the party following his disqualification from NA-95, Mianwali-I constituency for allegedly filing incorrect statements of assets. The ECP had started the proceedings against Imran Khan after disqualifying him from his Mianwali seat in the Toshakhana Reference. Imran Khan, through his counsel, had challenged the assumption of jurisdiction by the ECP through the issuance of impugned order and notice. He sought the interpretation of articles 218(3) and 219, read with articles 4 and 5 of the Constitution and Sections 8(c) and 9 of the Election Act in the light of Article 62(f) of the Constitution. He submitted that a pivotal point involved in this case was whether the ECP could pass any declaration, which was not mentioned under Article 218(3) of the Constitution. He pointed out that a reference against him was submitted before the NA speaker, who sent it to the ECP to decide the matter. He argued that the ECP could not issue the impugned notice to him since it never made a declaration against him under the Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. The court will take up the matter on April 12. He asked the court to declare the ECP notice and proceedings illegal and unconstitutional. He also urged the court to hold that the findings of the ECP against the petitioner of making false statements about his assets and liabilities and subsequent disqualification were unlawful and without lawful authority.