Diplomat Times(ISLAMABAD) –
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said on Monday that former prime minister Imran Khan’s disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was only to the extent of the seat he was notified on.
The IHC CJ’s remarks came while hearing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief’s petition against the ECP’s decision to disqualify him in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference.
Two days earlier, the ex-premier had approached the IHC, requesting them to declare the ECP’s decision null and void.
During today’s hearing, the IHC asked about the Registrar’s Office objections to the petition. Imran’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar informed the court that there were objections regarding Imran’s biometrics and certification of the submitted documents.
Chief Justice Minallah then inquired why the petitioner was in a “rush” for the petition to be heard. To this, the lawyer stated that the PTI chief had to contest elections on a seat in Kurram on October 30, but was now facing problems due to the ECP’s disqualification.
When asked about the section under which the electoral watchdog disqualified Imran, Ali Zafar replied that action was taken under Article 63(1) of the Constitution.
Justice Minallah maintained that Imran was only disqualified to the extent of the seat he was notified on. He furthered that there was no need for hasten the process of hearing the plea, and that the case would be heard once the verdict’s certified copies were presented.
Barrister Zafar again contended that there was an election in Kurram on October 30, in which the party has to participate. CJ Minallah remarked that there was “no problem” with the PTI contesting this election.
The lawyer argued that the IHC should suspend the ECP’s decision.
He maintained that the ECP’s verdict was reserved, then announced and then the commission claimed that the decision “was not signed”.
“Nothing is going to happen in three days,” CJ Minallah said, advising the petitioner to be patient. The court stated that in the past, fake court orders of the IHC were issued and action was taken against them.
Barrister Zafar said that in the prohibited funding case against the PTI, the ECP had changed its decision and that risk still lingered with the current disqualification case.
Justice Minallah highlighted that it “takes some time to issue a decision”, adding that at time it takes the IHC some time to issue notices too.
He furthered that the petitioner had not received a certified copy of the verdict and did not have reason to be in a rush.
“We are in a rush because the stigma is politically damaging,” Imran’s lawyer reiterated.