Imran Khan’s lawsuit against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to deprive the former prime minister of the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) following his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference was approved by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday.
Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI, filed a petition with the LHC on Wednesday to overturn the ECP notice that sought to depose him.
In light of its ruling in the Toshakhana case, the ECP started the procedure to depose Imran Khan as the PTI chairman on December 5, 2022. According to Article 63(1p) of the Constitution, he was dismissed for making “false statements and incorrect declaration.”
On December 13, 2022, it sent notice to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it has started the process to remove Imran from his position as PTI chairman.
Imran subsequently filed a complaint with the LHC on January 4 against the ECP’s proceedings, arguing that the ECP’s recognition of the case and exercise of jurisdiction based on an alleged inaccurate disclosure of assets and consequent disqualification were illegal and unconstitutional.
The ECP attorney asserted at the hearing that the notice was given by the commission based on the Speaker’s referral and that “the constitution gives a provision to disqualify any assembly member.”
He continued, “Matters about a disqualification are referred to the ECP.” The LHC granted Imran Khan’s request for a hearing and sent the Election Commission a notice instructing it to hold off on disciplining him until the next hearing.
The hearing today was presided over by Justice Jawad Hassan, and Imran’s counsel, Barrister Ali Zafar, argued that the ECP lacked the power to dismiss someone from the position of party chairman.
“The electoral commission becomes a plaintiff in the event that there is a matter of filing false statements. It does not render a decision since it is outside of its purview,” he claimed.
If the ECP decision had been contested in court, Justice Hassan questioned Imran’s attorney. In his reply, Zafar stated that although the parties had contacted the Islamabad High Court, the case had not yet been resolved.
Khan said in his appeal that the ECP started the procedure for his dismissal as the party’s leader following his exclusion from the NA-95 seat.
According to the suit, the ECP allegedly issued the notice after receiving a “false statement,” although it is not authorised to act as a tribunal.