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Election Commission Disqualified Imran Khan in Toshakhana Case

Election Commission of Pakistan has disqualified Imran Khan in Toshakhana Case. ECP, in a unanimous decision, has found former premier guilty of “corrupt practices” and disqualified him from being a member of parliament. Khan recently won six National Assembly seats in elections held on October 16, 2022.

PTI workers and supporters rejected the decision and started protesting in different cities resulting in traffic jams and obstructions. They also burnt tyres at different locations and termed the case as another failed attempt to oust Khan from the political seen.

Dozens of Khan’s supporters chanted slogans against the government and authorities at the Election Commission on Friday.

What Does Verdict of Election Commission Says?

The written declaration states that the respondent had “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions contained [in] sections 137, 167 and 173 of the Elections Act, 2017, as he “has made false statement (sic) and incorrect declaration before the Commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21”.

Faisal Chaudhry, face of PTI’s legal team told media that they will challenge the verdict in Islamabad High Court and only waiting for election commission to release the detailed verdict. He also said that PTI will question the commission’s scope to deliver such a verdict.

 “We will challenge their jurisdiction, their mandate in issuing this decision,” he said.

What is Toshakhana Case?

Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha, a PML-N lawmaker had filed the case against Khan in August, contending that Imran Khan bought gifts received from foreign dignitaries from the Toshakhana but did not disclose them in declarations submitted to the commission.

The Toshakhana controversy erupted last year when certain media outlets highlighted that Imran Khan has sold the gifts bought from Toshakhana in the market at discounted rates. Interestingly, in an interview with senior anchor Nadeem Malik, Khan himself revealed selling a watch to build the fence around his Bani Gala residence.

To fuel the suspicions, PTI showed reluctance to reveal the details of the gifts received by Khan, claiming it could potentially jeopardize Pakistan’s foreign relations.

Government created Toshakhana, literally meaning gift repository, in 1970 to record the gifts received by government functionaries from foreign dignitaries. As per the Toshakhana rules, all gifts received from foreign signatories must be submitted to the department. However, receiver of the gift has option to purchase the gift after paying fraction of assessed value. Purchasing and reselling the gifts is not strictly illegal. However, political opponents are questioning it on grounds of ethics and morality. Recent decision by election commission is expected to increase political instability in Pakistan.

Term of Disqualification

Legal experts are divided over the term of disqualification. Azam Nazeer Tarar, federal law minister said that election commission has disqualified Imran Khan for five years. However, Kanwar Dilshad, former secretary of the commission contradicted this version and said that disqualification is for “time being” only.

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