District election commissioner (DEC) Waqas Malik on Tuesday – in the case of criminal proceedings against PTI chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference – told a court that action had been ordered against the ex-prime minister under the country’s polls law for corrupt practices.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal of Islamabad was hearing the case related to the Toshakhana reference.
DEC Waqas Malik and the lawyer representing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Saad Hassan appeared before the court.
The DEC, in his affidavit, said it was the job of the commission to ensure there were no corrupt practices when it came to polls.
Read Imran summoned as criminal proceeding in Toshakhana reference begins
He said the proceedings against the PTI chief were initiated under the Elections Act for corrupt practices.
The DEC added that he was “authorised to follow the ECP verdict of November 21”.
“I have been given the authority to proceed by combining Section 190 with 16 and 173 of the Election Act 2017,” he continued. “These proceedings concern the corrupt practices of Imran Khan,” he told the court.
He added that the ECP was an independent institution which functioned under the Constitution.
Malik further told the court that members of the upper and lower houses of parliament declared their assets to the ECP every year.
He added that the PTI chief had declared his assets to the commission from the year 2018 to 2021.
However, the ECP has included the gazette notifications of 2018 and 2019 in the affidavit. While those for years 2020 and 2021 are yet to be presented.
During the proceedings, the judge inquired whether or not the DEC was recording his statement under duress.
The ECP lawyer responded that his client was having the affidavit recorded out of his own free will.
The DEC continued that the Senate chairman or the National Assembly speaker were authorised to send a disqualification reference against any lawmaker to the ECP.
He added that the NA speaker had sent a reference seeking the disqualification of Imran on August 2 this year.
Malik informed the court that the ECP had received the details of the Toshakhana gifts through the Cabinet Division.
The judge prohibited the PTI chief’s lawyer from submitting his bank statement.
“You cannot submit a photocopy, it must be certified,” he added.
The judge noted that there was no concept of a photocopy if it was attested.
“If you agree, we can grant a break until they acquire a certified copy,” the judge said addressing the ECP official’s lawyer, who agreed that a “system-generated copy is not considered certified as the document contains no signatures”.
Read more Govt moves swiftly to drag PTI to court
The judge then ordered Imran’s lawyer to present a certified copy. “We will then resume the proceedings,” he added.
However, Imran’s lawyer requested the court to “record the district election commissioner’s statements today” and said “a certified copy can be submitted with another witness later”.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case till December 8 when the statement of another ECP witness would be recorded.
Last month, the ECP had disqualified the deposed premier under Article 63(1)(p) in the Toshakhana reference.
A four-member bench of the ECP declared Imran's NA seat vacant as it unanimously decided that he had misled officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister.
The written ruling read that the PTI chief had “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions contained in sections 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017 as he submitted a “false statement” and “incorrect declaration” to the ECP in the details of his assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21.
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