The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday rejected former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s request to withdraw his appeal against his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.
In a short order, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq announced the verdict, reserved on Sept. 13, stating detailed reasons would be provided in the detailed verdict.
On Oct. 21, 2022, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified the former prime minister from holding public office under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution after concluding he had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding gifts he retained from the Toshakhana while prime minister. Khan had subsequently filed an appeal against the verdict in the IHC on Oct. 28, 2022 before seeking its withdrawal on Jan. 18, 2023 because it was also pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC). The LHC petition was filed on Jan. 4, 2023, while the matter was still pending for the IHC.
In his appeal, the former prime minister had urged the IHC to set aside the electoral body’s decision, arguing he had purchased the gifts legally and did not need to name them in his assets statement.
During proceedings, the IHC chief justice had expressed annoyance over Khan’s lawyers initially concealing that a second petition on the same case was pending before the LHC. “In principle, the case should proceed in the court where the appeal was filed first,” he observed. To this, Khan’s counsel had argued that a larger bench of the LHC was hearing the case.
The Toshakhana reference was filed against Khan by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government in August 2022 over his failure to “share details” of the Toshakhana gifts he had retained as prime minister and the proceeds from their sale. In a written response submitted to the ECP in September 2022, Khan had admitted to selling at least four presents he had retained from the Toshakhana for Rs. 58 million after paying Rs. 21.56 million for them.