LAHORE - Though the scale of corruption allegations is incomparable, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan face similar charges of concealing wealth and on the basis of evidence against them the ECP can disqualify both for any public office, says a former senior official of the election body.

PML-N has filed a reference seeking disqualification of PTI chairman as member of Lower House with Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The speaker, if he finds the evidence credible, would forward the reference to the ECP.

PTI and some other parties have filed disqualification references against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with the ECP for concealing assets and providing incorrect wealth details.

The decision of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) can be challenged in the Supreme Court, said former ECP secretary Kanwar Dilshad while talking to The Nation yesterday about the references against PTI chairman and the prime minister.

It would be difficult for the apex court to give relief to the appealing parties in cases of this nature with solid evidence, he added.

Ruling party members who filed the reference against Imran took the plea that he doesn’t meet the criteria set in Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution and he should be disqualified. PTI chairman had concealed the details of his wealth channeled through an offshore company therefore his right to remain member of National Assembly should be closed down, they have pleaded.

Imran Khan’s party filed a 72-page disqualification reference against the PM under similar charges. They sought disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as National Assembly member maintaining that he submitted incorrect affidavit about his assets with the ECP for contesting 2013 general elections, thereby violating Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Sheikh Rasheed’s Awami Muslim League filed similar references with ECP against the prime minister seeking his disqualification.

“ECP is most likely to make the biggest decision in the political history of the country by disqualifying the two top leaders of mainstream political forces. The evidence submitted by both parties against each other’s party heads is of similar nature which could not give either party the opportunity to save their party chiefs,” said Mr Dilshad.

It is not possible for the ECP that it disqualifies Imran and spares Nawaz giving that the charges against them are of similar nature, he added.

A Pandora’s Box is about to open with the references of PTI and PML-N. The possible disqualification would bring into net more public figures under different charges of misuse of power, he predicted.

About the reference filed with the NA speaker, Dilshad said that Ayaz Sadiq has to decide the matter within 30 days. The speaker can dispose of the matter in his chamber and he needs not hear the member against whom the reference is filed.

If the evidence is solid, the speaker would forward the reference to the ECP and the election authority would summon the member concerned through notice to start proceedings, he added.

Although morally it doesn’t seem right for the speaker to deal with the matter of reference against the chief of the party he himself belongs to, but there is no other option under the constitution.

Analysts said there would be a huge ‘political whirlpool’ in the history of Pakistan if the ECP disqualifies both the Prime Minister and Imran Khan finding credible evidence against them.

The democratic process would really strengthen in Pakistan which could help block ‘adventurers’ from taking over the country under any pretext, they opined.

The ECP must strike down the public figures found involved in cheating and lying to the public to strengthen institutions in a democratic system of governance, they further observed.