ISLAMABAD: A larger bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday adjourned the proceedings in the Tyrian White case to Wednesday. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq headed the bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir. The chief justice asked whether Imran Khan was still a public office-holder and whether just winning the National Assembly seats made someone a public office-holder.
Imran’s counsel Salman Akram Raja said it was a question of the admissibility of the petition as well as the court jurisdiction. The chief justice remarked that the court was not asking him (the lawyer) to give arguments on the case merits.
“If one goes on the case merits, then it is a two-minute case,” he remarked. Hamid Shah, the petitioner’s counsel, said when the court had issued the notice, Imran Khan should have submitted a reply on the merits, but instead he raised five objections to the plea.
The PTI chief adopted the stance that he was no more a member of the National Assembly, he added. He said Imran Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the Toshakhana case adjudging the National Assembly constituency from where he was elected in the 2018 general election, vacant. However, he challenged the ECP’s decision in the court, which stayed the by-elections in the said constituency.
Hamid Shah said the ECP had notified Imran Khan’s success from another constituency. The chief justice said despite all that Imran Khan was no longer an MNA from that seat and asked the lawyers to give their arguments on what was the status as he had not oath from that constituency and whether the head of a political party was a public office-holder.
An application for corrupt practices in the election could be filed with the Election Tribunal but it was not the case in the instant case, he added. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said the court would first decide on the admissibility of the case and then proceed.
The petitioner’s lawyer said there was a decision of the American court regarding Imran Khan adding that the PTI chief had submitted an affidavit to the court. The chief justice observed that it was not an affidavit but a declaration, which was signed by an oath commissioner in Pakistan.
The petitioner’s lawyer claimed that Imran Khan as father had given the declaration to hand over the guardianship of “his daughter”. He observed that Faisal Vawda’s case was also based on a false affidavit.
The petitioner’s lawyer said the circumstances and events were different in the Faisal Vawda case, as he had gone to the Supreme Court and tendered an apology.
Chief Justice Amir Farooq asked what the position would be if Imran Khan had sought forgiveness. Whether the disqualification would be for life if the affidavit proved to be false, he asked.
The IHC had disqualified Khawaja Asif but the Supreme Court annulled the decision, he added. Justice Kayani asked whether it was possible for a person to find out much later that he had a child and whether a person could be disqualified on that basis.
He said even an adopted child had to be declared as a dependent. The chief justice questioned whether an adopted child was to be disclosed by a person among his dependents.