The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found that PTI Chairman Imran Khan “intentionally and deliberately” violated the Elections Act, 2017, according to the detailed Toshakhana reference verdict released on Monday.
The ECP had disqualified Imran in the reference on Friday under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”. However, the full text of the 36-page order was not officially released, raising questions about whether it was really a unanimous decision and providing fodder to rumour mills to go into overdrive over the possibility of a dissenting note. Imran filed a plea in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday, challenging the ECP verdict.
The detailed verdict released on Monday said: “The respondent has intentionally and deliberately violated the provisions contained [in] sections 137 (submission of statement of assets and liabilities), 167 (corrupt practice) and 173 (making or publishing a false statement or declaration) of the Elections Act, 2017, who has made a false statement and incorrect declaration before the commission in the statement of assets and liabilities filed by him for the year 2020-21,” elaborating that thus, Imran attracted disqualification under Article 63(1)(p).
Similarly, the ECP said he had “deliberately concealed the material facts” by not disclosing the details of his gifts in the statement of his assets and liabilities for the year 2018-19 or accounting for the sale proceeds. The electoral watchdog explained that the PTI chief had not provided details of the gift items and had also failed to add the details of the cash and bank account of the sale proceeds in the relevant Form-B sections.
“The amount allegedly received in his bank account does not commensurate with the assessed value of the gift items. Hence, the respondent has filed false statement and incorrect declaration, in material particular, for the financial year 2018-19,” the verdict reads. It explained that Imran had also not provided any explanation that any non-disclosure was “unintentional, accidental or [a] bona fide mistake”. Regarding gifts purchased for the financial year 2019-20, the verdict reads that Imran made an “evasive and ambiguous” statement in his written reply that the gifts for that period were further gifted on to others.