ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan for concealing information about his alleged love child in his election nomination forms.

An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb posed multiple questions to petitioner Hafiz Ehte­sham Ahmed, who is known to be a habitual litigant, to ascertain the maintainability of the petition.

The petitioner, however, could not convince the bench.

Though Chief Justice Minallah warned Mr Ahmed that in future the court would fine him for filing frivolous petitions, he later announced that he would file an appeal against the dismissal of his petition in the Supreme Court.

During the course of arguments, the IHC bench asked the petitioner under what law he was seeking disqualification of PM Khan.

Justice Minallah warns petitioner against filing frivolous petitions; petitioner plans to move Supreme Court

Mr Ahmed, who is a former spokesperson for the Lal Masjid-affiliated Shuhda Foundation, claimed that Mr Khan was ineligible to hold a public office under Article 62 of the Constitution since he had concealed information about his alleged love child in the nomination forms he had submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to contest the July 2018 general elections.

The petitioner alleged that Mr Khan had submitted a fake declaration to the ECP and, therefore, he was not qualified to become a member of the National Assembly.

Justice Minallah asked the petitioner whether he had gone through Article 63 of the Constitution that said that a lawmaker might be disqualified if “he has been, on conviction of offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release”.

He further asked: “Has Imran Khan ever been convicted by a court of law?”

Mr Ahmed replied in the negative, but said that a Los Angeles court had declared Mr Khan as father of Tyrian Khan.

“Do you want us to ignore Article 63 of the Constitution,” the bench members remarked sarcastically and noted that such frivolous petitions were wasting the precious time of courts which could be utilised for genuine litigants.

“We are taking a lenient view and not imposing any fine on you for filing this petition,” Justice Minallah remarked and advised the petitioner to be careful in future.

The court then dismissed the petition.

Later, in a statement, Mr Ahmed claimed that the court did not provide him appropriate time for advancing his arguments.

Therefore, he said, he had decided to file an appeal against the IHC order in the Supreme Court.

It may be mentioned that initially a candidate against Mr Khan in the election for National Assembly constituency NA-53 (Islamabad), Abdul Wahab Baloch, in July last year had raised objections to his nomination papers for allegedly concealing information about his alleged parentage of Tyrian Jade Khan-White in his nomination papers and then filed a petition in the IHC.

Mr Baloch was candidate of the Justice and Democratic Party Pakistan which is led by former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

However, Mr Baloch later joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and also announced withdrawing his petition against Mr Khan.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2019