The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday reserved its verdict on the reference, seeking disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan from holding any public office for concealing the Tosha Khana gifts he received from foreign dignitaries when he was the country’s prime minister.
A five-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the reference.
Speaking on the occasion, Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for the former prime minister, said that the ECP was not authorized to judge the integrity of members of the parliament (MP). “The Supreme Court (SC) has already declared that the election commission is not a court,” he said, adding, “In order to declare a legislator disqualified under the Article 62 1-F, court’s declaration is must.”
Imran’s counsel went on to add that the National Assembly (NA) speaker did not have the power to send the reference. “In fact this case has become political as leaders of rival political parties are holding press conferences to prove they are on the right side,” Barrister Zafar added.
He said he would prove that his client had not concealed the gifts he ought to have disclosed.
Prior to that, Khalid Ishaq, representing PML-N in the case, accused Imran of lying on oath. “Secondly, PTI chairman, in his reply submitted to the ECP, has admitted that he had received gifts and that he sold these in the same financial year he had received them,” he said, and added, “The former prime minister has also admitted that he has not mentioned these gifts in his returns submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) because he thinks that disclosing sold assets is not mandatory. The ECP can declare him disqualified for hiding these details.”
Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Ikramullah asked as to what would be the consequences of receiving and selling the gifts and then not disclosing it.
Member Sindh Nasir Durrani remarked that a lawmaker could not be disqualified if he or she had not concealed the gifts by design.
Ishaq said that Imran had said in his reply that he had mentioned the income from the sale of these gifts in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) returns. “The fact is that there is a difference between the returns of the FBR and those of the ECP.”