Lahore High Court to Hear Imran Khan’s Plea Against ECP After Eid

Wed Apr 12 2023
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has adjourned the hearing of a plea by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s move to strip him of his party chairmanship after his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.

The larger bench headed by Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan issued the order that the plea will be heard after Eid ul Fitr.

As proceedings commenced on Wednesday, the PTI chairman’s counsel barrister Ali Zafar informed the court that he was ready to initiate his arguments. The ECP’s lawyer argued that Islamabad High Court had already fixed 19 April on a similar petition pending.

He objected to not making the National Assembly speaker a respondent.

To this, bench’s member Justice Shahik Karim remarked that making the speaker a respondent was unnecessary. The bench also said that the roster would be changed after the Eid vacations, and one of the current judges might not be a part of the bench.

Lahore High Court’s order in January

In January, the Lahore High Court’s single bench headed by Justice Jawad Hassan barred the electoral body from removing Imran Khan as the chief of PTI in pursuance of the ruling issued in the Toshakhana case. The court issued the order after it accepted the former premier’s petition against the ECP notice that barred him from rendering as party chairman. The court then issued notices to the ECP and the attorney general of Pakistan.

It is to be noted that ECP, on 5 December 2022, had started the process to remove Imran Khan as the PTI chief in the light of its decision in the Toshakhana reference.

The election Commission on 13 December 2022, also informed the Islamabad High Court that it had started proceedings to remove Imran Khan from the post of party chairman. The ECP initiated the proceedings against the deposed premier after disqualifying him from his Mianwali seat in National Assembly in October in the Toshakhana reference.

After that, on 4 January, the petitioner approached the Lahore High Court against the Election Commission’s proceedings, arguing that the exercise of jurisdiction by the Election Commission based on an alleged incorrect statement of assets and disqualification was unlawful and contrary to the law and Constitution.

Before the single bench of the Lahore High Court, Imran Khan’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar had contended that the electoral body did not have the authority to sack someone from the position of party chairman.

In that proceeding, Nasar Ahmad, Additional Attorney General, had said that the petitioner concealed the facts of the pendency of his petition on the same matter before the IHC, wherein notices were given, and interim relief was also granted to him.

The remark irritated Barrister Zafar, who pointed out that the fact about the proceedings before the Islamabad High Court was mentioned in the petition filed in the Lahore High Court.

However, Justice Hassan remarked that since important Constitutional Articles and provisions of the Election Act 2017 needed interpretation, he thought it fit to refer the issue to the Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice for forming a larger bench.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp