LAHORE: A Lahore High Court five-member larger bench on Monday adjourned a petition by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against the proceedings of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to debar him from heading his party to wait for a decision by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on an application for withdrawal of a similar petition.

Headed by Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan, the bench asked the counsel for the petitioner about the petition pending before the IHC.

Senator Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, the counsel, stated that initially it was assumed that the IHC had the competent jurisdiction to hear the challenge. He pointed out that a request was made before the IHC for the withdrawal of the petition, which had not been decided so far.

At this, the bench adjourned the hearing for a date to be fixed later.

The bench comprises Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Jawad Hassan.

A single bench had already restrained the ECP from taking any adverse action against Khan in its proceedings to debar 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 Khan after disqualifying him from his Mianwali seat in the Toshakhana reference. Khan through his counsel 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) Constitution.

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. He asked the court to declare the ECP notice and proceedings illegal and unconstitutional.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2023

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