LHC admits petition seeking removal of Imran Khan as PTI chief

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday accepted for hearing a petition calling for PTI Chairman Imran Khan to be removed as the party chief after his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.

Justice Muhammad Sajid Mehmood Sethi will preside over the hearing on Thursday (tomorrow).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified Imran in the reference on October 21 under Article 63(1)(p). Subsequently, on Oct 24, the ECP had de-notified him as MNA from NA-95 with “immediate effect”.

The petition submitted by Advocate Mohammad Afaq mentioned Imran, the ECP, the federation and government of Pakistan and others as respondents.

It argued that according to the Representation of the People Act 1976 and Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002 it was a legal and constitutional requirement for party officeholders to be qualified in accordance with Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

The petition said that after Imran’s disqualification from the NA-95 constituency it was “just” for him to be denotified as the PTI chairman and an order should be issued to this effect.

It added that Imran did not have the right to continue holding the party chief office as it was a violation of the PPO. The petition also demanded that the ECP chairman should give orders for a new PTI chairman to be appointed.

Imran’s disqualification

In October, the ECP had disqualified Imran in the Toshakhana Reference, ruling that the former premier had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts he had received.

The Tosha­khana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

A reference alleging that Imran had not shared details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana and proceeds from their reported sales was filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition in August, and the ECP concluded last month that the former premier had indeed made “false statement and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts — a ruling that prompted widespread protests by the PTI.

The watchdog’s order said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

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