PHC adjourns premier disqualification case

Updated November 20, 2019

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The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing into a petition seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding any public office on multiple grounds and ruled that it would decide on the next hearing whether the petition was maintainable or not. — AFP/File
The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing into a petition seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding any public office on multiple grounds and ruled that it would decide on the next hearing whether the petition was maintainable or not. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing into a petition seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan from holding any public office on multiple grounds and ruled that it would decide on the next hearing whether the petition was maintainable or not.

The lawyer for petitioner Inamullah Khan advocate told a bench consisting of Justice Mussarat Hilali and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim that he had formally responded to an application filed by Imran Khan to seek dismissal of the petition insisting it was not maintainable.

Lawyer Hayatullah Khan claimed that the petition was maintainable and the grounds mentioned for dismissing it by PM Imran Khan were not applicable to it.

The schedule of next hearing will be announced later.

Will decide petition’s maintainability on next hearing

The petition was filed last year by the petitioner Inamullah Khan, a leader of Justice and Democratic Party of former Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who had lost to Imran Khan in 2018 general elections on NA-35 Bannu.

Imran Khan in the application, which was filed few weeks ago, maintained that the petitioner had concealed declaration of Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding the applicant Imran Khan whereby he was declared sadiq (honest) and amen (righteous) under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

The petitioner has mainly based his petition on the grounds that during the last year general elections, Mr Imran neither mentioned the name of his alleged daughter in his nomination papers nor did he disclose the assets of his current wife.

Deputy attorney general Mohammad Habib Qureshi contended that the petition should be dismissed as the petitioner had concealed certain facts.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had won the NA-35 seat but had vacated the same so there was no need to file the present petition.

Mr Qureshi said when PM Imran Khan was no longer MNA from the said constituency, how the present petition could be declared maintainable.

The bench asked the DAG how he could represent Imran Khan as he was the law officer of the federal government and it was his personal case.

The DAG said he had been appearing for the federal government.

Counsel Faramnullah Khattak and Nasir Mehmood appeared for the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In his reply to the premier’s application, the petitioner said in the process of contesting elections from NA-35 Bannu, the respondent (Imran Khan) had sworn a false declaration and affidavit attached with his nomination papers, and had not mentioned Tyrian Jade Khan White as his daughter.

He added that in view of the ‘overwhelming’ evidence attached with his petition, the petition was competent for adjudication.

The petitioner said as for the Supreme Court judgment reported as PLD 2018 SC 189, it was not applicable on facts of present case.

He added that in that case, petitioner Mohammad Hanif Abbasi had not raised the points which were raised by present petitioner and that the apex court had not mentioned that point in its judgment.

The petitioner said it was a settled principle of law that irrespective to the fact whether the respondent (Imran Khan) had retained a seat from any other constituency but he had an obligation to satisfy this court that he was qualified to contest the elections without disclosing that he was father of a daughter.

The application submitted on behalf of the prime minister claimed that the writ petition was an election matter against the judgment passed by the returning officer at a pre-election stage and the electoral laws provided remedies against pre-election grievances under sections 8 and 9 of Elections Act, 2017, which had not been availed by the petitioner, so it was liable to be dismissed.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2019