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Islamabad District and sessions court declares ECP’s Toshakahan plea against Imran maintainable

Islamabad: An Islamabad district and sessions court on Thursday deemed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s petition for criminal proceedings against PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference as maintainable and summoned the PTI leader in person next month.

Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal issued a notice to Imran, summoning him to be present in the court on January 9.

The reference was filed by the ECP last month after it had disqualified the PTI chief on October 21 in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution read with sections 137 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017.

The reference asked the court to proceed against Imran under criminal law for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister.

The ECP had claimed that Imran had “deliberately concealed his assets relating to Toshakhana gifts retained by him particularly in year 2018 and 2019 […] in the statements of assets and liabilities filed for the year 2017-2018 and 2018-19”.

It had requested that the PTI chief be convicted for the offences mentioned under Sections 167 (corrupt practice) and 173 (making or publishing a false statement or declaration) of the Elections Act 2017.

The ECP’s counsel argued in a recent hearing, “It is a crime if someone, who is contesting for the Senate, provincial or National Assembly, does not declare his assets.”

Hasan had said that Imran had taken gifts worth Rs107 million during 2018-2019 and the gifts or property taken during that period would be included in his assets.

He had claimed that “Imran Khan actually did not even want that the gifts worth Rs142m are disclosed publicly.”

The ECP had previously disqualified Imran under Article 61(1)(p) of the Constitution which states that an individual is “for the time being, disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) or of a provincial assembly under any law for the time being in force”.

The ECP’s verdict put the PTI chief at risk of ceasing to be the chairman of his party, as per an earlier judgement by the Supreme Court in February 2018 in which it had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution could not serve as the head of a political party.

Last week, the ECP also set into motion the process of removing Imran as the chairman of PTI, the next hearing for which has been scheduled for Dec 20.

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