Thursday Oct 20, 2022
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will announce its verdict in the much-delayed Toshakhana disqualification reference against PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan at 2pm today.
The case, which was filed by lawmakers of the ruling alliance, has been pending for several months.
According to a notice issued today, the ECP ordered all the relevant parties or their counsels to appear before the commission at its secretariat, situated at Constitution Avenue, G-5/2, in Islamabad.
It should be noted that the ECP had reserved its verdict in the Toshakhana case on September 19 following months of hearings. After hearing the arguments, a five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, reserved its ruling.
The election body has also sought security from the Islamabad Police inside and outside the watchdog’s premises.
Toshakhana is a word of Persian origin that literally translates into "treasure house".
During the last hearing of the case, which took place on September 19, Khan’s counsel Ali Zafar admitted that his client had sold at least four presents he had received during 2018-19.
“The gifts were sold for Rs58 million and their receipts were enclosed with the income tax returns filed by my client,” the lawyer apprised the ECP.
He maintained that Khan has provided the gifts’ details up to 2021 in the written reply submitted to the election body.
“The ECP conducts scrutiny if the body has doubts on any details but in this case, the election body did not raise any objection,” argued the PTI lawyer.
In 2019-20, Khan received gifts worth Rs1.7 million, the lawyer told the ECP.
An ECP member asked about the source of income for procuring the gifts from the state treasury.
At this, the lawyer said that he will not give the details to the ECP.
In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking former prime minister Imran Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana scam.
The disqualification reference was filed by Ali Gohar Khan, PMLN’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, and five others.
The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by the former prime minister Khan, violating the law and rules, taken away at nominal prices and most of the gifts were sold in the market, including some precious watches.
The assessed value of the gifts has been put at Rs 142,042,100. The gifts were received between August 2018 and December 2021.
According to PML-N MNA Ranjha, 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 Ranjha, is a crime under Section 137. He thus said that Khan was no more Sadiq and Ameen and should be slapped with disqualification for life from contesting the election under Article 62(1)(f), Article 2, 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 said.