The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday disqualified PTI chief Imran Khan in the Toshakhana matter under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”, and provoking demonstrations in numerous locations.
The PTI chief’s conviction is a major setback for the party, which had recently triumphed handily in by-elections across the nation, following its overwhelming success in the Punjab by-elections in July, both of which were considered as signs of widespread support for the deposed former premier.
The written decision states that the respondent “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions contained [in] sections 137, 167, and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017, as he “has made a false statement (sic) and incorrect declaration before the Commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21.
As a result, it was said, he is disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution when read in conjunction with sections 137 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017.
The ECP ruling continues, “we are of the considered opinion that the respondent has become disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution read with Sections 137,167 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017, consequently he ceases to be a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and his seat has become vacant in accordance,” citing the aforementioned findings, facts on file, and the learned counsel for parties herein’s the argument.
The decision stated that because the respondent “has made false statements and incorrect declarations,” he has also engaged in “corrupt practices,” which are prohibited by sections 167 and 173 of the Elections Act of 2017, and are penalized by section 174 of the same law.
“The office is directed to initiate legal proceedings and to take follow-up action under Section 190(2) of the Elections Act, 2017,” the judgement added.
A person 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,” according to Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.
According to a previous ruling by the apex court, Imran may possibly lose his position as PTI chairman following the ECP’s decision.
The Supreme Court declared in February 2018 that a person who was ineligible under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution could not lead a political party.
The apex court’s verdict was in response to petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017, which had been bulldozed through parliament to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif’s return to the PML-N’s helm as party president after he had been deemed unfit to hold public office in the Panama Papers judgement for not being ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ in discharging his obligations as a lawmaker — both necessary conditions to hold public office under Article 62(1)(f) (f).
It is declared that any person who suffers from lack of qualification under Article 62 or disqualification under Article 63 of the Constitution is debarred from holding the position of ‘party head’ by whatever name called and prohibited from exercising any of the powers provided in Article 63-A of the Constitution, as ‘party head’ or any other power in the said capacity under any law, rule, regulation, statute, instrument or document of any political party,“ the judgement issued by the court read.