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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 551, 3 February 2023

One less: Imran Khan withdraws candidature in one by-election over disqualification fears



PTI believes that the candidacy night hurt his position in Tyrian White case

Abigail Miriam Fernandez

On 3 February, Dawn reported that Imran Khan has withdrawn his candidature for by-poll for a National Assembly constituency in an attempt to avoid possible disqualification in the Tyrian White case. The by-election on the NA-193, Rajanpur constituency is scheduled for 26 February, for which Imran Khan was nominated as a candidate. According to Dawn, the PTI feared that by being a candidate for the seat, Imran Khan’s stance in the Tyrian White case might be challenging. However, PTI district president Abdur Razzaq said Imran Khan withdrew fearing disqualification in the foreign funding case.

Cases against Imran Khan
The decision to withdraw his candidacy came after Imran Khan’s plea in the Tyrian White case pending before the Islamabad High Court. On 2 February, the IHC constituted a larger bench to hear a petition seeking disqualification of Imran Khan over concealing his alleged daughter Tyrian Jade White in his 2018 nomination papers that were submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan. In response to the petition, Imran Khan’s counsel, submitted a reply to the court contending that the petition was not maintainable as Imran Khan is no more a parliamentarian, therefore he was not answerable to the court for allegedly concealing facts about ‘his daughter.’ The bench then adjourned the meeting for February.  

In a separate case, on 31 January, an Islamabad sessions court stated that charges Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference will be framed on 7 February. The reference claims that Imran Khan did not disclose details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana and proceeds from their reported sales. This comes after the ECP’s verdict on the PTI’s prohibited funding case where it claimed that Imran Khan has indeed made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts.

PTI and the National Assembly by-polls
Since his removal from power in April 2022, Imran Khan has been the PTI’s sole candidate for by-election on every seat. The PTI also embarked on an en masse resignation spree, following which several seats have becomes vacant in the National Assembly. In this regard, the PTI announced that it would be contesting in the by-elections on 33 National Assembly seats with Imran being the party’s sole candidate on all 33 NA seats, making him the first person in the country’s history to run for a sizeable number of seats. This comes as the NA speaker accepted the resignations of 113 members of the month of January, including 86 members from the general seats. Following this, the ECP de-notified 35 each on 17 and 20 January and 43 on 25 January.

References
Amjad Mahmood, “Imran won’t contest by-election over disqualification fears,” Dawn, 3 February 2023
Umer Burney, “Islamabad court to indict Imran Khan in Toshakhana reference on Feb 7,” Dawn, 3 February 2023
 Iftikhar A. Khan, “By-polls on 86 NA seats in March: ECP official,” Dawn, 30 January 2023
Imran Adnan, “Imran to contest NA by-polls on all 33 seats,” The Express Tribune, 30 January 2023

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