ISLAMABAD - Two top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) including Imran Khan and party’s Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen Thursday escaped the hanging sword of disqualification from Parliament membership.

The two leaders were facing disqualification references sent by the Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in September last year under Article 63 of the constitution for allegedly concealing their assets.

According to details, a five-member Commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan dismissed the disqualification references against the two PTI top leaders as not maintainable.

The news went viral which led to widespread jubilations among the PTI workers across the country. The references were decided by the election commission after six-month long proceedings of the cases.

Muhammad Talal Chaudhry MNA from the ruling Pakistan Muslin League (Nawaz) who filed the reference along with six other petitioners against Imran Khan and Muhammad Khan Daha and others who filed the reference against Jhangir Tareen were present in the Commission along with their legal counsels.

Later, addressing the media, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haque said, “Following the ECP’s ruling, NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq should be disqualified.”

“The speaker’s reference was based on malafide intentions,” he added. Following the commission’s decision, the party has decided to launch a protest against the Speaker National Assembly.

While the PML-N leaders including Talal Chauhdry said they would challenge the ECP decision in the Supreme Court.

The references were filed to the NA speaker after PTI filed references against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year for his disqualification in the Panam Leaks issue.

In another case, PTI is accused of misappropriating millions of dollars fund sent by overseas Pakistanis for the party.

A counsel for PTI Chairman Imran Khan concluded his arguments before the Islamabad High Court recently after the party had challenged the ECP orders directing examination of PTI’s accounts.

PTI chairman’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan appeared before a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Aamer Farooq.

Mansoor contended that the ECP had no jurisdiction to order an examination of past and closed transactions on a private complaint.

He challenged the ECP’s decision of scrutiny of records, arguing that the ECP does not have any authority to adjudicate the matter of disputed facts and complaints raised under the Political Parties Order (PPO), 2002. Assuming jurisdiction is in violation of laws, he added.

“ECP is neither a tribunal nor a court,” he said.

The counsel argued that the objections were left undecided and the commission took notice of the case without first settling the issue of maintainability.

Mansoor contended that nowhere in the law was the ECP mandated to scrutinise accounts.

He added that only a chartered accountant can give a true picture of the accounts. If such an accountant fails to do so, a process exists to make him accountable. The process, Mansoor said, was not followed.

He further argued that apart from PTI, the poll supervisory body was not looking into the accounts of any other party, despite the fact that auditors had raised objections while preparing audit reports of different parties.

Akbar Sher Babar, an estranged PTI founding member who developed differences with party chief Imran Khan over internal corruption and alleged violations of laws to maintain its accounts, had filed a petition before ECP in November 2015.

Baber had sought details of accounts, money transferred from abroad including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates to PTI accounts or to the accounts of the party’s employees since July 2010 to date.

However, Mansoor contended in his petition that Baber does not have a locus standi on the matter to approach the ECP with a complaint under the PPO, 2002.

The polls supervisory body was acting in excess of power without statutory competence, the lawyer argued.

Mansoor further said that the ECP was acting in violation of a Supreme Court decision in opening past and closed transactions. He further argued that PPO 2002 does not provide a frame work of a tribunal for adjudication of complaints and scrutiny of accounts.

In the petition, he prayed the court to declare that the accounts submitted by the petitioner are past and closed transactions and that Babar has no locus standi to approach the ECP under Article 6 of the PPO, 2002.

Previously, the bench had clarified that it will not resolve the issue if the PTI was foreign aided or not rather it would limit the case to the petition, jurisdiction and procedural powers of the ECP.