Imran challenges ECP’s notice to remove him as party Chief

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Wednesday moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), challenging the Election Commis-sion of Pakistan’s (ECP) notice seeking to remove him as the party’s chairman.
The electoral body had initiated the process to remove Khan as chairman of PTI last month, following his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference, by issuing a notice. Khan, in his petition, maintained that the process for his removal as the party chair was initiated after his disqualification from the National Assembly’s seat NA-95.
The ECP issued the notice over allegedly submitting a “false statement” but it cannot play the role of a tribunal while exceeding its authority. “Calling Imran Khan incompetent is baseless and illegal and the notice was served to keep him away from politics,” the petition read.
The former premier requested the court to set aside the ECP’s notice while declaring and holding the assumption of jurisdiction and taking of cognisance by the electoral body for his removal as party chairman as envisaged by the said notice, “illegal, ultra vires the powers of ECP, contrary to the Constitu-tion, and of no legal effect”.
Khan also sought suspension of the notice and restraining orders for the ECP to stop it from proceeding in the matter till the final disposal of this plea. In October, the commission had disqualified Khan in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63 (1) (p) for making “false statements and an incorrect decla-ration”.
The written order said that the Khan had “intentionally and deliberately” violated the provisions of Sections 137, 167, and 173 of the Elections Act 2017, as he “has made false statements and an incorrect declaration before the commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21”.
The ECP also said: “Accordingly, he (Imran Khan) ceases to be a member of the National Assembly and legal proceedings will be initiated against him under Section 190 (2) of the Elections Act 2017.”
Last month, the ECP had initiated proceedings to strip PTI chief Imran Khan of his party’s chairmanship following his disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.
PTI had confirmed that it received a notice from the Election Commission to Chairman Imran Khan
PTI General Secretary Asad Umar said the party will write a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja to inquire about the reason for sending a notice.
He said they would challenge the legitimacy of the notice, adding that the ECP had no authority to remove Imran Khan as party chairman.