Thursday, August 18, 2022
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will begin the regular hearing of the Toshakhana reference against PTI Chairman Imran Khan today.
The case was sent to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223 by the Speaker of the National Assembly. Ali Gohar Khan, Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha of the PML-N, and five others have filed a disqualification reference under Article 63.
The case will be heard by the ECP's full court, which will be presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and will include Justice (retd) Nisar Durrani of Sindh, Justice (retd) Ikramullah of KP, Justice (retd) Shah Mohammad Jatoi of Balochistan, and former federal secretary Babar Bharwana.
The PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan's annual asset statements would be scrutinised by the ECP's full bench.
If the ECP determines that the former PM did not submit the details of Rs15 crore in gifts, wilful concealment would be considered a corrupt practice, allowing the ECP to conduct disqualification proceedings against the PTI chairman.
According to PML-N MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Imran Khan concealed information about the gift of watches by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his statement of assets submitted in 2018-2019.
This withholding of information is tantamount to lying, which, according to MNA Mohsin Ranjha, is a crime under Section 137, declaring that Imran Khan is no more Sadiq and Ameen, slapping disqualification for life from contesting elections under Article 62(1)(f), Article 2, and Article 3 of the Constitution.
Article 62(1)(f) is the same legal instrument that disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections and led to his removal from power, Ranjha says.
The ECP would seek replies to the accusation of concealing information from PTI Chairman Imran Khan through his legal team, and by September 2022, the ECP would give its verdict.
According to former secretary ECP Kanwar Dilshad, the ECP is bound to give a verdict on the Speaker’s reference within 30 days, followed by the filing of an appeal by the defendant within 30 days. Thereafter, the Supreme Court is bound to give a verdict within 90 days of the filing of the appeal under the Constitution.
Justice Mian Gul Aurangzeb of the Islamabad High Court, in a ruling, had stated that Toshakhana gifts given to a political personality or official by a foreign government must be deposited in the Toshakhana.
He said the ECP can seek a report from the Cabinet Division on the gifts of Toshakhana and can seek a record of the gifts mentioned in the reference.