- ECP serves notice to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
- Asks him to appear before it for explanation on Jan 11.
- Khan was disqualified from his Mianwali seat for making “false statements”.
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has served a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, seeking an explanation for still holding the top post in his party despite disqualification.
The electoral body had initiated the process for the removal of Khan from the party chairman’s post last month in light of its verdict to disqualify the former premier in the widely reported and discussed Toshakhana case.
In October 2022, Khan was disqualified from his Mianwali seat in the National Assembly under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.
In its latest move, Khan has been asked by the commission to appear before the electoral watchdog — whether in person or via a counsel — on January 11 and explain his position on still holding the post of PTI chairman.
The notice explains that the commission conducted a hearing on December 20, 2022, whereby the order was passed that “after hearing the applicant, we have observed that the respondent, Imran Khan Niazi, is holding the position as PTI chairman despite having been disqualified/de-seated from NA-95, Mianwali-I in the order passed on October 21, 2022, by the commission on account of making false statements and declaration about his assets and liabilities.
“It is further observed by the commission that pursuant to the pronouncement of the august Supreme Court of Pakistan reported as PLD 2017 SC692, he, being, a disqualified person cannot hold the post as chairman of a political party, i.e. the PTI. The respondent be put on notice to explain his position on 11.01.2023. You (Imran Khan), therefore, is required to appear in person or through a counsel before the election commission on January 11, 2023, at 10:00 am to explain your position,” the notice says.
LHC stops ECP from stripping Imran Khan of PTI chairmanship
It may be noted that Khan has challenged ECP’s move to remove him from the party chairman’s post, in the Lahore High Court. Responding to Khan’s plea, the LHC on Thursday stopped the electoral body from stripping the former premier of PTI’s top post.
In his petition, Khan maintained that the ECP initiated the process for his removal as the party chair after his disqualification from the National Assembly’s NA-95 seat.
The petition read that the ECP issued the notice over allegedly submitting a “false statement”; however, it cannot play the role of a tribunal.
“Calling Imran Khan incompetent is baseless and illegal and the notice was served to keep him away from politics,” the petition read.
The former premier requested the court to set aside the ECP’s notice while declaring and holding the assumption of jurisdiction and taking of cognisance by the electoral body for his removal as party chairman as envisaged by the said notice, “illegal, ultra vires (beyond) the powers of ECP, contrary to the Constitution, and of no legal effect”.
The court issued a notice, ordering the ECP to refrain from taking disciplinary action until the next hearing.