RAWALPINDI / ISLAMABAD: An election tribunal has deferred its decision on the appeal filed by imprisoned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the NA-89 constituency in Mianwali, Punjab, where he previously won elections.
The tribunal, led by Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz, heard arguments from both parties, with Barrister Ali Zafar, Umair Niazi, and Lamia Niazi representing Imran Khan. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was represented by Director General (DG) Law Arshad Malik and a legal team, along with Assistant Attorney General Tayyab Bilal.
The judge questioned Khan’s legal team about the omission of Toshakhana’s gifts and earnings from his asset declaration. Barrister Ali argued that all Toshakhana items were disclosed in Khan’s asset details, and he emphasized that an appeal against Khan’s conviction in the Toshakhana case was also being considered.
The election tribunal reserved its judgment on Khan’s plea, and the decision is expected to be announced on January 10. Barrister Ali, addressing reporters after the hearing, emphasized that the disqualification of a candidate should be determined by a court, not a returning officer, and allegations alone could not establish disqualification.
Imran Khan, despite facing obstacles, submitted nomination papers for the February 8 elections in NA-122 Lahore and NA-89 Mianwali. However, his papers were rejected by the provincial election commission officers, citing his status as a convicted individual.
This setback adds to the challenges faced by the PTI, whose leadership, including Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is entangled in various legal cases, particularly related to the May 9 riots. The objections raised against Khan’s nomination papers included his disqualification in the Toshakhana case, allegations of having an illegitimate daughter, and defaulting on Rs3.6 million social security funds.
The returning officer, concurring with the objections, rejected Imran Khan’s nomination papers on December 22.