ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) has dismissed a petition seeking the disqualification of former prime minister Imran Khan for concealing his alleged daughter, Tyrian White.

A three-member bench comprising Justices Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Arbab Mohammad Tahir and Saman Rafat Imtiaz took up the petition on Tuesday after a gap of almost a year.

The court issued the order on the grounds that a three-judge bench had previously dismissed the petition.

This was a reference to the incident on May 10, 2023, when the opinion of two of the three judges — supporting the petition’s dismissal — was uploaded on IHC’s website.

Judges rely on year-old opinion of their two colleagues; senior lawyers surprised by ‘contradictions’ in verdict

Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Arbab Mohammad Tahir supported the dismissal, while IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq found the petition to be maintainable.

The majority judgement was deleted from the website minutes after it was uploaded and the bench was also dissolved by the IHC chief justice.

Later, the registrar had also issued a clarification, stating that the majority opinion “does not constitute judgement of the court”.

Tuesday’s ruling, however, contradicted this stance.

During the brief hearing, Justice Jahangiri opened the case file and took out a sealed envelope.

He read the opinion of the two judges given last year and ruled that the case has already been dismissed.

In a statement issued by its spokesperson, PTI welcomed the judgement, saying that the two judges had already decided the case, but the IHC CJ “tried to keep it alive on technicalities”.

Senior lawyers have also questioned why the bench didn’t decide the case on its merits.

While talking to Dawn, senior lawyer Ahsanuddin Sheikh asked why a fresh bench was constituted if the case had been decided earlier.

The lawyer believed that the two judges’ opinion was not binding on the new bench as it comprised three judges.

He added that the petitioner can file an appeal before the Supreme Court.

While the case remained stalled for almost a year, it continued to stir controversies as six IHC judges, who complained of intelligence agencies meddling in their scathing letter to the Supreme Judicial Council, also made a reference to this case.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2024

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