ECP issues non-bailable arrest warrants for ex-PM Imran Khan

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case pertaining to contempt of the electoral body and the chief election commissioner (CEC).

The order was passed by a four-member ECP bench headed by member Nisar Durrani.

Last year, the ECP had initiated contempt proceedings against the PTI chief, Asad Umar and Fawad for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the CEC and the electoral watchdog, according to Dawn.

It had also asked them to appear in person or through their counsels before the commission to explain their position.

However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the PTI leaders had challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high court on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017.

According to the Election Act 2017, Section 10 titled “Power to punish for contempt” states that the “election commission may exercise the same power as the high court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly.”

The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges, Dawn reports.

In January, the Supreme Court had allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against Imran, Fawad and Umar.

In its order, the apex court held that since the objections to ECP authority were raised by the respondents in the pending proceedings under Section 10, the same was required to be considered and decided by ECP before passing a final order on the matter.

On June 21, the ECP had decided to frame charges against Imran, Fawad and Umar in July.

During today’s hearing, Imran, Fawad and Umar did not appear before the commission despite being summoned.

The assistant of Umar’s counsel told the ECP that his client had another case to attend and a medical appointment, requesting an exemption from personal appearance. The election commission accepted the request and directed the lawyer to submit a formal plea in this regard.

Subsequently, the ECP issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Fawad and Imran and adjourned the hearing until July 25.

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