Imran Khan moves SC to seek swift hearing on disqualification appeal

Says legal challenges prevent him from assuming role of PTI chairman

News Desk June 24, 2024
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, gestures as he speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, Pakistan March 17, 2023. PHOTO: REUTERS

Incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday to expedite the hearing of an appeal regarding his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the Toshakhana case.

Barrister Ali Zafar, the lawyer representing the PTI founder, has submitted a request for an early hearing of the appeal against the former premier’s disqualification.

The application argues that the petitioner, a former prime minister and leader of the largest political party (PTI), faces ongoing challenges to his role as party chief following a disqualification by the electoral watchdog.

The petition added that cases challenging the ECP's decisions are currently pending in Islamabad and Lahore High Courts, with proceedings stalled due to a related case in the Supreme Court.

The petitioner contended that these legal challenges prevent him from assuming the role of PTI chairman, member of the assembly, and also hinder his participation in by-elections due to the pending appeal.

In December last year, Imran challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) the ECP's ruling of disqualifying him for five years for not declaring Toshakhana gifts in his statement of assets and liabilities.

Khan contended that recent amendments to the Elections Act 2017 limit the ECP's jurisdiction in deciding the qualification or disqualification of a member based on a court conviction.

In the petition, Khan urged the court to set aside the ECP's notification, which disqualified him for a period of five years and purportedly de-notified him as the returned candidate from constituency NA-45 Kurram-I. He further requested the court to suspend the operation of the notification until the final disposal of the petition.

He accused the ECP of acting with unlawful zeal and haste to exclude him from the February 8 general elections rather than ensuring fair and free elections.

In a swift 30-minute proceeding on August 5, 2023, Imran Khan was sentenced to three years in imprisonment and fined Rs100,000, a conviction later suspended by the Islamabad High Court.


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