In light of the election watchdog’s ruling in the Toshakhana case, which disqualified the former premier under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declarations,” the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday started the process to remove Imran Khan as chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
The former prime minister has received a notice, and the matter will be heard on December 13, an ECP official informed Dawn. PTI sources acknowledged the news but maintained that there is no legal restriction on a prisoner holding an elected position in a political party.
Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002, which is no longer in effect, stated in Section 5 (1) that “Every citizen… shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or to take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party: provided, however, that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be.
The clause was dropped from the Elections Act of 2017 nevertheless. However, a three-member Supreme Court panel concluded in February 2018 that a person disqualified under articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution may not lead a political party while considering petitions challenging the Elections Act.
After being declared ineligible by the Supreme Court under Article 62(1), the decision made it possible for Nawaz Sharif to be ousted from his position as PML-N leader (f).
Justice Ijazul Ahsan had said during the hearing that if the party’s leader was tainted, the entire stream would be polluted. An ineligible individual shouldn’t seize the authority of others to lead the party, he had added, just as competent people shouldn’t be under the leadership of a disqualified person.
It should be mentioned that Imran Khan‘s removal as PTI chairman following his disqualification is already the subject of a suit before the Lahore High Court. According to the petition, it was a legal and constitutional obligation for party officeholders to be qualified in line with Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution under the terms of the Representation of the People Act 1976 and Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002. It stated that Imran should be “justly” de-notified as the PTI chairman following his disqualification from the NA-95 constituency and that an order should be made to that effect.