iNDICA NEWS BUREAU–
In a major blow to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday disqualified PTI chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan for five years following his conviction in the Toshakhana (state treasure house) case last week.
On Saturday, a trial court in Islamabad had sentenced Khan to three years’ imprisonment besides slapping a fine of ₹100,000 while hearing the ECP’s criminal complaint against the ex-premier for concealing the details of Toshakhana gifts.
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The court found him guilty of “corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer wilfully and intentionally”, Dawn reported.
“He cheated while providing information of gifts he obtained from Toshakhana which later proved to be false and inaccurate. His dishonesty has been established beyond doubt,” the court order read.
Khan was subsequently arrested from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
The verdict signified that Imran technically stood disqualified from holding any public office for five years under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution, which states: “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Parliament if he has been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release,” Dawn reported.
In a notification issued on Tuesday, the ECP cited Saturday’s court order and declared Khan disqualified under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution read with Section 232 of the Elections Act, 2017.
“Therefore, Mr Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi is disqualified for a period of five years and is also de-notified as a returned candidate from constituency NA-45 Kurram-I,” the notification read, Dawn reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Khan had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against the trial court’s verdict, stating that the said order was “not sustainable” and “liable to be set aside”, the report said.
The petition will be taken up on Wednesday.
The Toshkhana case, filed by ruling party lawmakers, was based on a criminal complaint filed by the ECP, Dawn reported.
The case alleged that Khan had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept — during his tenure as the Prime Minister. He reportedly concealed the proceeds from their reported sales.
According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division, Dawn reported.