ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was moved by a private citizen on Saturday against the dismissal of his petition seeking ex-premier Imran Khan’s disqualification for allegedly concealing his daughter Tyrian Khan White in the nomination papers for 2018 general elections.

The petitioner, Mohammad Sajid, through his counsel Saad Mumtaz Hashmi, pleaded that the full bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that dismissed his petition has erred in considering the concurring opinion of two of the three judges as court judgment though it had been reserved and not announced.

The ex-premier did not mention the existence of his alleged daughter, Tyrian Khan White, when he filed nomination papers to contest election from Mianwali constituency (NA-95) on June 11, 2018, as he only furnished the details of his spouse, Bushra Bibi, and two sons living abroad, namely Qasim Khan and Sulaiman Khan, the petitioner argued, adding that since Mr Khan furnished a false affidavit, he was liable to be disqualified as per the principle laid down in the 2018 Habib Akram case.

The petition pleaded that it was an undeniable fact that Tyrian Khan White, born on June 15, 1992, was the real daughter of Mr Khan after she and her paternity was confirmed by the judicial record in the courts in California, the United States.

Imran has become ineligible to be elected as lawmaker or hold any public office for allegedly having misled people, says petitioner

Earlier, the petitioner had brought these facts before the IHC in 2022. A single bench hearing the matter decided on Feb 2, 2023 that the case be heard by a full bench comprising three judges. Thereafter, the matter was taken up by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir. After the hearing, they reserved the judgment on March 30, 2023.

However, before the chief justice could have given his opinion, the concurring opinion of two other judges was uploaded on the IHC’s website mentioning that the petition was dismissed by a majority of two to one.

The CJ then ordered an inquiry besides ordering the removal of the concurring opinion of the two judges from the website, as it could not have been uploaded before the case was fixed for announcement of judgment. Later on May 10, 2023, the CJ decided to recuse himself from hearing the case and directed that the “opinion of the two judges be sealed” and ordered that the matter be fixed before a full bench to “decide the case afresh”.

The petitioner claimed the petition was fixed before the IHC full bench on May 21, 2024, but the bench rather than hearing the case afresh dismissed the petition.

Challenging the dismissal of his petition instead of hearing it afresh, the petitioner argued that the opinion of two judges uploaded on the website did not constitute a judgment in view of the law declared by the Supreme Court in a number of verdicts.

The IHC full bench was not bound by the concurring opinion of two judges given in the earlier round of hearing of the petition, he said.

For all intents and purposes, the opinion of two judges was not a judgment and therefore it had no binding effect, he pointed out, requesting the SC to declare the dismissal of his petition “erroneous and liable to be set aside”.

According to the petition, Mr Khan has become ineligible and continues to be disqualified to be elected as a member of the parliament or hold any public office for allegedly having misled people through his nomination papers for the 2018 elections, as the act of committing an alleged fraud on the electorate was not diluted by expiration of his term as a member of the parliament.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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