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Big Blow To Imran Khan As Pak Court Upholds Rejection Of Nomination Papers

Big Blow To Imran Khan As Pak Court Upholds Rejection Of Nomination Papers

General elections in Pakistan are scheduled to be held on Feb 8 (File)

Islamabad, Pakistan:

Ending hopes for Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan, the Lahore High Court on Wednesday upheld the rejection of his nomination papers for the February 8 general elections, Dawn News reported.

The high court upheld the decisions of the returning officer (RO) and appellate tribunal given against acceptance of the disqualified former premier’s nomination papers from NA-122 and NA-89 constituencies.

It reported that Imran’s nomination papers had been rejected primarily on the grounds of being convicted in the Toshakhana case, in which he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The case, filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), had accused Imran of not mentioning the details of state gifts in his tax declarations.

Imran’s nomination papers from NA-122 were also dismissed on the grounds of the proposer not being a voter from the constituency.

The appellate tribunals had also upheld the decisions of the respective returning officers (ROs) with an observation that the conviction and sentence were two different terms as conviction pertained to the guilty verdict and sentence stands for the rigours following conviction.

Earlier, Lahore High Court (LHC) reserved the decision on a writ petition filed by Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan against the election appellate tribunal’s dismissal of his appeal regarding the rejection of his nomination papers by the Returning officer (RO), The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

Arguing during the hearing, Imran Khan’s counsel contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) lacks the authority to disqualify an individual.

The tribunals had noted that the conviction meant a guilty verdict pronounced by a court in reference to the delinquency attributed to an accused, whereas the sentence denoted the quantum of punishment.

Subsequently, Imran had filed two petitions in the LHC asking the high court to set aside the decisions of the ROs and the appellate tribunals of rejecting the nomination papers of the petitioner from both constituencies of the National Assembly.

During the previous hearing, Advocate Uzair Bhandari had argued on behalf of Imran that the conviction on the charge of moral turpitude did not fall under the definition of disqualification. He said the conviction of the petitioner could not be equated with the conviction for corruption or accumulating illegal assets, Dawn News reported.

He also pointed out that an Indian court enlisted the offence of moral turpitude lower than the offence involving financial corruption. However, the bench observed that the standards of morality in Pakistan were different from other regions.

Bhandari further argued that the RO had no jurisdiction to pass the impugned order on the basis of the conviction on moral turpitude. Meanwhile, a lawyer for the ECP argued that the petitioner’s conviction was still in force and he had not been acquitted by the high court.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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