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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Friday, rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan and Federal Minister Asad Umar’s request to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s notices against them.

A single bench of Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of PM Khan and Umar and directed them to join the ECP’s proceedings against them for violating its code of conduct.

The ECP on March 11 had issued notices to the prime minister and several other PTI leaders for attending a public gathering in Lower Dir. Both the petitioners moved the IHC against the notices and prayed the court to nullify the same.

During the hearing, petitioners’ counsel Barrister Ali Zafar informed the IHC bench that on February 19, Elections (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022 had been promulgated that allowed public officeholders to partake in election campaigns.

Dir rally: PM Imran, Asad Umar challenge ECP's notice in IHC

At this, Justice Aamer said that the prime minister should have responded to the notices from the ECP.

He remarked that this government has become a factory for issuance of ordinances and bypassing the Parliamentary procedure and the work of the Parliament is being done through ordinances. He added that the prime minister should respect the institutions.

The judge said that the Constitution’s Article 218 has authorized the ECP to conduct free and fair elections and the ECP has given its reference in their order. He said the PM and the minister should have appeared before the commission on March 14 as it had summoned them for the violation of election rules and also warned them of action.

Then, the counsel said that the ECP did not have the authority to issue a notice to his clients and requested the IHC to suspend the ECP’s notice and stop it from taking further action.

However, the court refused to suspend the ECP’s notices to PM Imran Khan and Umar and issued notices to the ECP and said it wanted to hear the ECP’s argument as well. Later, the IHC bench deferred the hearing till March 28 for further proceedings.

In their petition, moved through Syed Ali Zafar advocate, the PM and the minister have raised different questions.

The petitioners adopted that under the Constitution and the law, the Commission has no jurisdiction or authority or power to declare Section 181-A to be ultra vires the Constitution, illegal, void or of no effect.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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