ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan while announcing its verdict in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference.
Tight security measures were put in place in the capital today ahead of the verdict.
Meanwhile, the PTI leadership has ordered party workers to protest if the Toshakhana case decision goes against Imran Khan.
Senior party leader and in-charge of the party"s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa wing Pervez Khattak shared an audio message with the workers saying that “if the decision is in favor of Imran Khan, then fine; otherwise, if he is against [it], there will be a strong protest at the district level”.
The election watchdog sought "seamless security" before delivering the verdict. The electoral watchdog also invited all parties to be present in person or through their lawyers at its secretariat in Islamabad.
Earlier today, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and provincial ECP members from all the four provinces reached the commission when an important meeting was convened.
The Islamabad administration in the presence of Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon briefed the meeting about the security arrangements in place.
Strict security on site
Due to fears of arrival of PTI personnel or possible disturbance, tight security has been deployed in the entire area and especially around the ECP building. The personnel were also supplied with tear gas cartridges and other necessary equipment.
In addition to the police, FC and Rangers personnel were also deployed for security.
Security has been deployed by the Islamabad administration, with 1,500 personnel including one SSP, five SPs and six DSPs appointed at the premises.
According to police officials, PTI workers will not be allowed to enter the ECP building and entry will be restricted to the appropriate persons only for the time when entry to the red zone will also be restricted.
Besides, DC Islamabad also visited the ECP and reviewed the security arrangements.
PTI rejects "minus one formula"
Considering the constitutional role of the ECP, during a press conference today, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the "minus one formula will not be acceptable".
"The ECP is a constitutional institution," Qureshi said, noting that "free, fair and credible elections" were the watchdog"s responsibility.
"Under no circumstances will a minus one formula be considered acceptable," he added.
During the press conference, Qureshi also noted the PTI"s successes in the by-elections and cited them as evidence that attempts to disqualify Imran would be against the "will of the people".
Link to Toshakhan
The ECP reserved its verdict in the case on September 19.
The Toshakhana - a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Department - keeps rare gifts given to heads of state, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments, states and foreign dignitaries.
According to the Toshakhana rules, gifts and other similar materials received by persons covered by these rules must be reported to the government department.
The reference was raised by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) against the PTI chief on August 4 for "not sharing details" of donations from Toshakhana and the proceeds of its alleged sale.
Despite being ordered to do so by the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC), the PTI, while in government, has been reluctant to disclose details of donations presented to Imran since he assumed office in 2018.
It argued that this would jeopardize international relations.
The petition sought the disqualification of Imran from public office under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.