ECP disqualifies Imran Khan for five years after conviction in Toshakhana case

PTI chief has been disqualified under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution

Nausheen Yusuf
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan addressing the National Assembly. — AFP/File
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan addressing the National Assembly. — AFP/File 

  • ECP de-notifies Imran Khan as “returned candidate” from NA-45.
  • Disqualification of ex-PM announced based on Toshakhana verdict. 
  • PTI chief has been disqualified under Article 63(1)(h) of Constitution.

Following his conviction in the Toshakhana case, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday disqualified former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for five years.

In a notification, the electoral watchdog stated that the PTI chief was disqualified after being found guilty of corrupt practices under Section 167 of the Elections Act, 2017 and his sentencing for three years.

“As a consequence, Mr Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi has become disqualified under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Section 232 of the Elections Act,2017,” the notification added. 

It also stated that the ECP has de-notified Khan as the “returned candidate” from NA-45 Kurram-l.

Khan was sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of Rs100,000 by Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar on August 5, 2023, after the judge found Khan guilty of graft in the Toshakhana case.

He has been convicted of misusing his position as prime minister to sell state gifts worth more than Rs140 million ($490,000) that he received from foreign dignitaries during visits abroad.

Following the conviction, the PTI chief was shifted to Attock Jail.

PTI chairman’s counsel Naeem Haider Panjotha has claimed that his client has been provided C-class facilities and kept in "poor condition" in Attock jail. They have moved a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to seek A-class facilities for the PTI chief and transfer the PTI chairman from Attock jail to Adiala jail.

Furthermore, the PTI chief approached the Supreme Court to quash the verdict and today (Tuesday) they filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the trial court's verdict and sentence against party chief Imran Khan, requesting that the court declare the judgement "illegal".

"It is most respectfully prayed that the Hon'ble Court may graciously be pleased to set aside the impugned judgement dated 05.08.2023, and declare the conviction, sentence imposed upon the Appellant to be illegal and without lawful authority and to acquit the Appellant of the charges framed against him," the petition read.

A two-member IHC bench led by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri will conduct the hearing on the petition tomorrow (Wednesday).

What is Toshakhana case?

Under the rules governing Toshakhana — a Persian word meaning "treasure house" — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana has been under a microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.

Moreover, seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000), was also among the gifts.

A reference was forwarded by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to the Election Commission asking it to probe the matter.

In October 2022, the electoral body declared the former premier guilty of corrupt practices and filed a complaint in an Islamabad court.