Islamabad High Court forms new bench to hear case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Surprising as it may seem but the Islamabad High Court constituted on Wednesday a new division bench to hear a petition seeking Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s disqualification for concealing his alleged daughter Tyrian Jade White in the nomination papers.

Islamabad High Court’s chief justice has constituted the new bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Athar Minallah to hear the petitions, asking the court to stop Imran Khan from taking oath as prime minister.

Petitioner Abdul Wahab Baloch, an election candidate from NA-53 belonging to the Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party (PJDP) led by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, through his counsel Sheikh Ahsanuddin petitioned raising objections on the PTI chairman for not disclosing his ‘daughter’ Tyrian Jade Khan-White in the nomination papers.
Another petitioner, Hafiz Ehtesham, has requested the court to direct the federal government to collect certified record from an American court related to Tyrian White case. He has also prayed the court to direct Khan’s second wife, Reham Khan, to present evidence in connection with the allegation she has leveled against Khan in her recent book.

Earlier, a division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb had recused itself after the petitioner’s counsel raised objections on the formation of the bench saying initially the case was fixed before Islamabad High Court’s Justice Siddiqui and Justice Farooq. However, IHC chief justice had re-constituted the bench and replaced Justice Siddiqui with Justice Aurangzeb. The reconstituted bench was dissolved on Aug 1 after the bench recused itself from the case.

On Aug 1, the plaintiff’s counsel argued before Justice Farooq and Justice Aurangzeb that the earlier bench had issued an order on July 23 stating therein that “In our estimation, prima facie, petition is supported with some material documents for which reply of respondent No.3 [Khan] is mandatory.” The bench had issued notice to respondents – the Election Appellate Tribunal for NA-53, the returning officer, Imran Khan and the secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) – for August 1 but the bench was changed by then.

Meanwhile, the petitioner has separately requested IHC to initiate contempt of court proceedings against IHC’s deputy judicial registrar for interfering and obstructing the judicial process by fixing the petition before a bench which had already recused.

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The petitioner has prayed the court that Khan be called upon to appear and state as to why in violation of Article 62 (1)(d)(e)(f) he submitted a false declaration and affidavit and as to why his nomination to be a candidate or a member of the parliament be not rejected or de-seated in all accumulated consequences for the violation of the relevant provision of constitution and law.

Interestingly, petitioner has relied upon the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi vs Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ex Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with the SC judgment dated July 28, 2017.

The counsel has argued that Sharif was held not to be qualified as he failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE in his nomination papers filed for general election held in 2013 in terms of section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA).

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Also, he said, for furnishing a false declaration under solemn affirmation Sharif was declared not honest in terms of section 99 (f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, therefore, disqualified to be a member of Parliament.

The newly constituted bench would take up the petition on Aug 16 (today).

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