ECP to announce disqualification verdict in Toshakhana reference against Imran on Friday

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce verdict in a reference seeking disqualification of PTI Chief Imran Khan over his failure to declare gifts he retained from the Toshakhana or the state gift repository.

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The commission has informed all the respondents including the former PM.

The ECP had reserved its verdict on September 19.

The then-Prime Minister Imran Khan had retained gifts from the Toshakhana between 2018 and 2022 but failed to declare some of them in his annual statements of assets submitted before the ECP.

Under the law and rules, lawmakers are required to declare their assets with the ECP every year.

Multiple references were filed against Imran Khan after it emerged that he retained some of the Toshakhan gifts to sell them on the market.

In a 60-page reply submitted earlier this month to the ECP bench hearing one of the references Imran Khan admitted that he did not declare some of the gifts.

During the hearing on Monday, Khan’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar completed his arguments and insisted that a failure to declare some types of assets did not warrant disqualification.

He said that in the reference filed by the National Assembly speaker Imran Khan has only been accused of hiding gifts between the years 2018 and 1019.

The counsel said that under the law in a given fiscal year a lawmaker is only required to declare gifts or income from them if he has sold them.

The lawmaker is not required to declare the source of the money he has used for retaining the gifts, Imran Khan’s lawyer insisted.

However, the ECP member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ikramullah, said that a lawmaker is also bound to declare the source of the money he deposits with the Toshakhana to retain the gifts.

Ali Zafar also maintained that the ECP could act against a lawmaker over misdeclaration only within four months of elections.

The chief election commissioner asked whether it meant that law cannot take its due course if credible evidence is found after the lapse of four months.

Imran Khan’s lawyer said that action could be taken against the lawmaker but the ECP is not the competent body to do so at this point.

He said four years have elapsed since the 2018 general elections.

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