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Hearing against Imran adjourned as PML-N lawyer asks for time

ISLAMABAD: Senior lawyer Mohammad Akram Sheikh on Tuesday sought time from the bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) hearing disqualification references against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and secretary general Jehangir Khan Tarin to file indexed documents.

Appearing before the bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza as counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry and other lawmakers who had filed reference against Mr Khan, he pleaded that the commission was required to examine each and every document.

“The speaker has sent a bundle of papers and it is the legal responsibility of the ECP to examine these papers as evidence,” he said.
CEC slams remarks by JI chief

He said Mr Khan’s offshore company, Niazi Services, had been wound up in June 2015, but it was not mentioned in his statement of assets. Likewise, he said, an apartment in the One Constitution Avenue was purchased in 2014, but it was not mentioned in the statement for the year 2014.

Talking to Dawn after the hearing, Mr Sheikh said he wanted to facilitate the commission by indexing the documents sent as part of the reference against Mr Khan by the National Assembly speaker. “We are not introducing something new and just want to present the documents also before the ECP in an indexed format for its convenience.” He pointed out that it took over 10 minutes for the commission to find out a document on Monday.

Advocate Sikandar Basheer, who is representing Mr Tarin, argued that the commission’s jurisdiction was restricted to the allegations levelled in the reference. He said the matter before the commission was all about the Banigala land and the issue of Niazi Services had additionally been raised.

The commission rejected a request to club the references and petitions against the PTI leaders and held that the two had distinct nature. “It appears as if you all are doing politics. No one is interested in legal arguments.” The hearing of the case has been adjourned till Jan 10.

Later talking to reporters, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq said that the CEC was angered when Mr Sheikh sought time to submit more evidence. He criticised the other side for using delaying tactics and asked the CEC not to allow the case to linger on and announce the decision. He said the counsel for Mr Khan, Naeem Bokhari, had already concluded his arguments and now it was time for the announcement of decision.

Meanwhile, CEC Sardar Mohammad Raza expressed his anguish over a statement of Jamaat-i-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq.

“Sirajul Haq is sitting on the seat of Abul Aala Maudoodi and must not degrade himself,” he remarked during the hearing of a reference seeking disqualification of two councillors from Lower Dir. The reference was filed by the JI chief.

Mr Haq recently criticised the ECP and called for reining it in. The commission has adjourned hearing of the case till Jan 5.

Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday alleged that the ruling PML-N was using the disqualification case against him in order to blackmail him and take pressure off Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the Panamagate scam.

“My disqualification case before ECP (is) deliberately being prolonged by (the) PML-N lawyer seeking new hearing dates because the PML-N has no case and so (it is) not prepared,” Mr Khan tweeted.

“(The) PML-N lawyer under Nawaz Sharif’s pressure (is) using (the) case as smokescreen behind which to blackmail me and take pressure off NS on the Panama scandal,” he further writes.

Mr Khan claims that “there is no substance in the case” against him and National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has “exposed himself as being PML-N surrogate rather than the speaker of the NA”.

“Real question is: why is the ECP not taking a decision? Why is it allowing (the) PML-N lawyer to get away with these delaying tactics?” Mr Khan asks through his Twitter account.

courtesy : dawn news

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