Imran Khan moves Supreme Court against IHC order on Toshakhana

PTI founder, whose party remains under pressure ahead of polls, seeks to contest in elections

A woman walks past a poster of former prime minister Imran Khan near his Banigala residence, in Islamabad on December 23, 2023. — AFP
  • PTI scrambles for Khan’s disqualification from contesting polls to be removed. 
  • Former prime minister appeals IHC’s latest verdict to be stayed. 
  • Khan contends he is being denied his fundamental right to contest polls.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan Saturday petitioned the Supreme Court against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order on the Toshakhana case.

With hopes of relief for Khan, who remains “disqualified” to hold any public office for five years, the move comes as the party scrambles for the removal of a ban on the former prime minister, which is the only way for him to contest in upcoming general elections.

In the latest blow to the incarcerated PTI supreme leader ahead of the February 8 polls, the IHC had earlier dismissed his plea seeking suspension of the trial court’s verdict in the Toshakhana case.

In his plea filed in the IHC — the same court that had suspended his sentence — Khan had sought to nullify the conviction.

In the fresh petition, Khan appealed the IHC’s verdict to be stayed, stating that his sentence in the Toshakhana case had already been suspended.

He contended that he is being denied his fundamental right to contest elections due to the suspension of only his sentence instead of the entire order of conviction by the trial court, which bars him from running for office.

“That taking advantage of the error in the order of the Islamabad High Court … wherein although the sentence of the petitioner was suspended but the order was not, the Election Commission of Pakistan issued a notification … and disqualified the applicant under article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, without even giving him an opportunity of being heard thereby blocking the fundamental rights, as enshrined under article 2, 2A, 4,9, 10A 15, 16, 17 & 25 of the Constitution, of the petitioner, to contest elections who at the time was heading the largest political in the country,” the petition stated.

The IHC’s two-member bench had on December 21 turned Khan’s request for the suspension of his conviction, which would have paved the way for his eligibility to stand in elections. Now, there’s only one day left to submit nomination papers.

IHC’s two-member bench — comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri — said in its order that the PTI founder’s petition was not maintainable, therefore, it was dismissed.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was sent to jail for three years on August 5 after being found guilty of selling state gifts during his 2018-22 tenure as prime minister — charges he denies.

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