Former secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Kanwar Dilshad has said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan is neither a member of the National Assembly nor can he retain any other seat he won in the by-elections and cannot remain the party head after his disqualification.
Talking to a news channel on Friday night, Dilshad said Imran concealed facts which falls under the definition of corruption.
Explaining the ECP verdict, he said that Imran is disqualified [to contest the elections] until the current assembly completes its term.
“The sessions court can hand Imran a three-year term for committing corruption. However, he has the right to appeal in the high court,” Dilshad said.
The ECP will lodge a criminal case at a sessions court against Imran under Section 173 of the Election Act, he said. The electoral body will also direct the court to complete the proceedings within 120 days, he added, saying the court may sentence Imran to three years in prison.
After he is served the sentence, he will be disqualified for the elections in the coming days, the former ECP secretary said.
Dilshad also called into question Imran Khan’s chairmanship, saying the Supreme Court had ruled in the Nawaz Sharif judgement that he [Nawaz] cannot remain the party head after his disqualification.
Dilshad said that the Election Act states in the Political Party chapters 200 and 201 that if the party chief gets involved in corrupt practices, he can no longer remain the head of his party.
THE CASE: The ECP had reserved its verdict in the Toshakhana case on September 19 after arguments were completed from both sides which was announced on Friday. A five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the case.
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, PML-N’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, and five others.
The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by the former prime minister, 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.