Imran disqualification: PTI questions ECP ‘withholding’ of written verdict

ISLAMABAD: The leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party cast aspersions on the delay in the release of the written ruling by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that saw former prime minister Imran Khan disqualified in the Toshakhana reference against him.

“Why is the election commission withholding the written decision? What are they cooking up now,” party’s secretary general Asad Umar tweeted, a day after the commission pronounced its verdict against the PTI chief, saying he made “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

Fellow member Imran Ismail accused the ECP of being a “subservient” organisation to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and called the delay in the issuance of the written ruling “shameful”.

“Chief election commissioner is waiting for a written decision from London or Bilawal House,” Ismail added.

The absence of the ECP’s written order, which is yet to be signed by all five members of the bench, as one of them was away due to illness, had led to ambiguity on the length of Khan’s disqualification.

The operative portions of the ruling mention Khan attracted disqualification under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution read with sections 137 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017.

Article 63 (1) (p) of the Constitution states that an individual is, “for the time being, disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Parliament or of a provincial assembly under any law for the time being in force”.

Legal experts had widely interpreted this as Khan being disqualified till the end of the current National Assembly (NA) term, however, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar explained in a press conference that the disqualification under Article 63(1)(p) will be for five years.

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