ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), as per the constitution, cannot serve a notice on Imran Khan as he was not a member of the national or provincial assemblies, his counsel told the election body on Thursday.
The ECP’s full court, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and comprising Justice (retd) Nisar Durrani of Sindh, Justice (retd) Ikramullah of KP, Justice (retd) Shah Mohammad Jatoi of Balochistan, and former federal secretary Babar Bharwana, took up the case today.
The ECP sent a notice to Khan on the reference filed for his disqualification by Ali Gohar Khan, Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha of the PML-N, and five others under Article 63 of the constitution.
At the outset of today’s hearing, , Barrister Gohar, Imran Khan’s counsel, said, “Neither is Imran Khan a member of the National Assembly nor can [the election commission], send him a notice.”
At this, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said that the PTI chairman is still an MNA.
“Show us, which resignation did the deputy speaker send us?” the CEC asked.
CEC Raja noted that the resignations that did get sent to the ECP were processed and MNAs were also de-notified.
Directing the petitioners to provide the reference to the PTI lawyers, the ECP adjourned the hearing till August 22.
Back in April, Prime Minister Shehbaz revealed that in “violation of the law”, Khan sold Toshakhana gifts — comprising diamond jewellery sets, bracelets and wrist watches — worth Rs140m in Dubai.
ECP bound to decide case in 30 days
According to former secretary ECP Kanwar Dilshad, the ECP is bound to give a verdict on the speaker’s reference within 30 days, followed by the filing of an appeal by the defendant within 30 days. Thereafter, the Supreme Court is bound to give a verdict within 90 days of the filing of the appeal under the Constitution.
Justice Mian Gul Aurangzeb of the Islamabad High Court, in a ruling, had stated that Toshakhana gifts given to a political personality or official by a foreign government must be deposited in the Toshakhana.
Dilshad added the ECP can seek a report from the Cabinet Division on the gifts of Toshakhana and can seek a record of the gifts mentioned in the reference.