The decision in the Toshakhana disqualification reference brought against former prime minister Imran Khan will be made public by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday (today) at 2 p.m.
See Here: What is Tosakhakhana? Everything You Need To Know About It
All relevant parties are required to appear before the electoral watchdog at its secretariat in Islamabad, according to a notice released by ECP yesterday.
In order to “prevent any untoward incident,” the ECP also wrote to the Islamabad police demanding “foolproof protection” both inside and outside the watchdog’s premises for the whole day. A traffic warden and two security officers in civil attire were also asked in the letter.
The ECP emphasised that it is “very vital” to make all required security arrangements, especially inside the ECP Secretariat building.
On September 19, the ECP had reserved its decision in the Toshakhana case.
The coalition government filed the case against the PTI chairman for “not providing information” of Toshakhana gifts and money received from their purported sale.
The Toshakhana was established in 1974 and is a department under the administrative jurisdiction of the Cabinet Division. It houses priceless presents that foreign dignitaries and heads of other governments and states have given to rulers, lawmakers, bureaucrats, and officials.
Gifts/presents and other similar items received by those to whom these rules apply must be reported to the Cabinet Division, per Toshakhana regulations.
Even though the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) ordered the PTI to do so, the party has resisted doing so while it was in power because it claimed doing so would jeopardise relations with other countries since Imran Khan took office in 2018.
A reference for the PTI chief’s disqualification from public office under sections 62 and 63 of the Constitution was submitted on August 4 by MPs from the Pakistan Democratic Movement, a member of the ruling coalition, due to his reluctance to disclose the specifics of Toshakhana presents.
They gave the reference to the speaker of the National Assembly, who then sent it on to Sikander Sultan Raja, the chief election commissioner (CEC), for further action.
Imran was asked to submit a written response by September 8 during the ECP’s hearing on August 29. The PTI leader acknowledged selling at least four gifts that he got while serving as Pakistan’s prime minister in his response.
In response, the former premier insisted that the presents he bought from the state treasury for Rs21.56 million sold for roughly Rs58 million. The other three gifts each contained a Rolex watch, while one gift had a Graff wristwatch, a pair of cufflinks, an expensive pen, and a ring.
The reference against Imran was submitted to CEC Raja by MNA Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha with the support of representatives Agha Hassan Baloch, Salahudeen Ayubi, Ali Gohar Khan, Syed Rafiullah Agha, and Saad Waseem Sheikh.
Imran is likely to be disqualified in the reference, according to the ruling PML-N, because he allegedly failed to declare the money he received through the purported sale of state gifts in his assets.
The ruling alliance’s MNAs requested the ex-disqualification premier’s under Sections 2 and 3 of Article 63 of the Constitution, read with Article 62(1), in their disqualification reference, which included documentary evidence to support their allegations against him (f).
In accordance with Article 62(1)(f), “A person shall not be eligible to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless […] he is wise, virtuous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, provided no court of law has declared the opposite.”
The Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within thirty days and, should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period, it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Commission. This is stated in Article 63(2) of the Pakistani Constitution.
Article 63(3), on the other hand, states that “The Election Commission shall consider the question within ninety days from its receipt or deemed receipt and, if it is of the view that the member has been disqualified, he shall cease to be a member, and his seat shall become empty.”
Imran Khan Toshakhana Case
An application from the journalist Rana Abrar Khalid of Islamabad was accepted by the PIC last year, and the Cabinet Division was instructed to “provide the requested information about the gifts received by Prime Minister Imran Khan from foreign head of states, head of governments, and other foreign dignitaries… description/specification of each gift, information about the gifts retained by the PM, and the Rules under which gifts thus received are retained by him.”
Within 10 working days, the Cabinet Division was instructed to disclose the necessary data and post it on the corporate website.
The PIC ruling was then contested by the Cabinet Division in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), with the justification that it was “illegal, without lawful jurisdiction.” The then-government said that any information on Toshakhana should not be made public since it could harm relations with other countries.
The IHC had instructed Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kayani in April of this year to see that the PIC order to make public information on the gifts given to former Prime Minister Imran by heads of state after he took office in August 2018 was carried out.
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