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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

IHC rejects Imran’s plea to suspend ECP order


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Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday rejected Imran Khan’s request to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order instantly in the Toshakhana reference, media reports said.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case today and at the outset of the hearing, asked about the objections to the petition, according to Geo news reports.

He was informed by Khan’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar that one objection was on the biometric verification and the other that a certified copy of the ECP’s decision was not attached to the plea.

On the second point, Zafar told the court that the ECP is yet to issue its detailed verdict, adding that they had only received two pages of the order.

“What is the rush in the case,” asked IHC CJ at this point.

Zafar told the court that his client has to contest elections in the coming days, adding that the ECP has also ordered that the PTI chief be prosecuted for corrupt practices.

“The Election Commission has also directed to send the matter for a trial,” said Zafar.

However, Justice Minallah observed that the commission has only directed that the complaint be sent for trial.

On this, Zafar told the court that disqualification was a “stigma” that may affect the coming elections.

“When there is no judgment then which order should the court suspend?” asked the judge. He also directed the counsel to address the objections raised by the registrar’s office.

“Disqualification will affect the people’s minds. The short order is attached (with the petition),” said Zafar.

“I expect you will get the certified copy in three days,” said the IHC CJ.

But Khan’s lawyer contended that his client has to contest elections.

At this, Justice Athar Minallah said 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 PTI chairman in his application has named the ECP secretary, NA speaker, and secretary respondents on Saturday.

Khan was also seeking a hearing of the case the same day he filed but it was turned down by IHC.

The petition said that according to the office memorandum, the gifts below the amount of Rs30,000 could be obtained without any payment, while gifts valuing above Rs30,000 could be obtained on the payment of 50% of their amount.

Before the PTI government came to power, the gifts of Rs30,000 could be obtained on the payment of 20% of their amount, while former prime minister Imran Khan got 14 gifts from 2018 to 2021 on payment of 20% and 50% of their amount.

According to the Election Act, the members of Parliament have to submit details of available assets by June 30 to the ECP, while in case they sell any asset before June 30, they don’t need to submit its details.

However, it is mandatory to submit details of assets sold out by them. The petitioner submitted details of his assets in value to the ECP every year.

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