ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday removed administrative objections from the petition filed by former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against his disqualification.
The registrar office is, however, yet to fix the petition before a single-judge IHC bench for regular hearing. Since the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) has recommended Justice Minallah’s elevation to the Supreme Court, he is unlikely take up the petition.
On Oct 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified Imran Khan under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution, read with Sections 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act 2017. Consequently, he ceased to be a member of the National Assembly and his seat became vacant.
According to the ECP, Mr Khan did not disclose details of gifts in the statement of his assets and liabilities for the year 2018-19 as well as the sale proceeds. He did not provide details of the gift items as required under column 3 of Form-B, it said.
PTI lawmakers seek judicial inquiry into ‘custodial torture’ of Swati, Gill and Saleh
The PTI chief has challenged his disqualification through his counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan.
The IHC registrar has raised objections that Mr Khan did not conduct biometric verification, the attested copy of ECP order was missing and the respondent, the National Assembly speaker, could not be impleaded as party in the matter.
The counsel later submitted the attested copy of the ECP’s verdict, while the biometric verification was done through Imran Khan’s attorney Naveed Anjum.
In the petition, Mr Khan contended that “in case the asset is sold or otherwise disposed of, before June 30, there was no requirement of providing the same in the statement of assets and liabilities”.
“All assets or proceeds of sale thereof in shape of money as the case had been, as were available on June 30 of each year had always been declared by him before the ECP. If ECP had any objection to any of the statement of assets and liabilities filed by the petitioner or wanted any clarifications or additional details, under Section 137 (4) ibid, ECP could do so in 120 days. ECP never raised any query or objection, etc. as required by Section 137(4) within 120 days,” the petition added.
The petition said the National Assembly speaker had, without hearing the stance of Mr Khan, referred this matter to the ECP, adding that allegations against the PTI chief were “baseless” and burden of proof was on the movers of the reference.
It went on to say that Mr Khan had on June 6 filed a reply in the ECP and explained everything about Toshakhana gifts, including details of 14 gifts presented to him or his spouse.
Twenty lawmakers belonging to the PTI filed in the IHC a petition seeking judicial inquiry into the allegations of custodial torture and humiliation meted out to party leaders Azam Khan Swati, Shahbaz Gill and Saleh Mohammad.
The petition, filed by Asad Qaiser, Pervaiz Khattak, Ali Mohammad Khan and 17 other PTI leaders, cited the interior secretary, director general of the Federal Investigation Agency, Islamabad inspector general and others as respondents.
The petition contended that Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gill and Saleh Mohammad were subjected to custodial torture and humiliation. It requested the court to order a judicial inquiry into these allegations by a district and sessions judge.
The petition asked the court to restrain the respondents from torturing and harassing the political prisoners.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2022