ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court yesterday turned down a petition seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan under Article 62.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the petition moved by chairman Defence of Pakistan Hafiz Ehtisham Ahmad and dismissed the same by terming it non-maintainable as it involved personal matters.

During the court proceedings, Ehtesham argued that Imran was a public office holder and, therefore, his personal matters could not be considered beyond scrutiny.

However, Justice Athar asked from the petitioner that if he had read Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution, under which he had sought PM Khan’s disqualification. Article 63(1)(h) stipulates that a person convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude” and sentenced to jail for not less than two years can contest elections if five years have lapsed since his release.

He added that in Islam, it has been said that [one should attempt to] put a curtain on [other people’s] private matters and reprimanded the petitioner for interfering in what the judge believed to be a personal matter for the premier.

Justice Athar also warned the petitioner that if such requests were submitted in future, the petitioner would be fined.

The prime minister’s counsel, Dr Babar Awan, was present in the court on his behalf. However, he did not need to present his arguments as the court discarded the petition after hearing the petitioner.

Abdul Wahab Baloch and Hafiz Ehtesham had filed the petitions against Imran Khan, praying to bar the PTI chief from taking oath as PM as he was not Sadiq and Ameen under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for not mentioning his alleged illegitimate daughter in his nomination papers.

Later, Abdul Wahab withdrew his petition since he had joined PTI. Therefore, Ehtesham had recently approached the court again for hearing of this matter.

The petitioners stated that Imran had submitted false declaration to the effect that he fulfilled qualification under Article 62 of Constitution and not subject to disqualification given in Article 63. They said that the PTI chief should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(d)(e)(f) and (g) of Constitution.

The petitioners contended that the Supreme Court in case of Imran Khan vs Nawaz Sharif (PLD 2017 SC 265) had delivered judgment that the declaration in terms of Article 62(1)(f) could be made by the superior court.

He argued that in presence of documents the IHC should summon Imran to answer “Whether Tyrian Khan White was not his loved child from his girlfriend – Anna Luisa (Sita) White.”

He further argued that the court should not allow Imran to hold public office, as he had not only cheated the public but the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Imran could not be termed sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen as per the Article 62(1)(f).” 

It was stated in the petition that Imran should be declared disqualified because he did not disclose that he had a daughter as a result of his “relations with Ana-Luisa (Sita) White, a wealthy lady who was the daughter of the late Lord Gordon White, head of the American arm of the giant industrial conglomerate Hanson PLC, which he co-founded”.

The petition mentioned that the custody of Tyrian (Sita White’s daughter) was handed over to Jemima (Khan’s former wife) while Ana-Lusia White, in her will dated February 27, 2004, nominated Jemima Khan as guardian of her minor daughter Tyrian Jade Brittanta Khan-White. Sita White died that year on May 13.

It continued that Jemima Goldsmith had been the spouse of Imran Khan (1995-2004). The concealed facts stood confirmed by a judgment of paternity rendered by a superior court of the state of California for the county of Los Angeles in favour of the said Sita White where it was held that the respondent was the father of Tyrian Jade. Khan initially joined the proceedings through his attorney, but defaulted after he was asked to undergo blood test.

However, the petition said that Imran, later submitted a declaration to a court of guardianship when Carolina White, a sister of Sita White, asked the court that she be appointed Tyrian’s guardian and Khan promised that if the court called him to testify, he would do so.

It argued that this declaration was executed on November 18, 2004, at Lahore. If he was not (Tyrian’s) father, in what capacity he submitted the affidavit of no objection in the matter of guardianship.

The petition further said that this document was executed in Pakistan for submission in the US. Therefore, any legal objection could not be raised regarding its admissibility on the basis of it being a foreign document.