ISLAMABAD: The national election body has issued another bailable arrest warrants for Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan and PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry over “intemperate language and contemptuous remarks” against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, summoning them on the 14th of this month.
A similar case is pending against the PTI secretary general for alleged contempt of ECP (not the CEC) but his arrest warrants were not issued afresh — although Asad Umar’s arrest warrants were issued on a previous occasion along with Khan and Chaudhry.
“…(R)espondent namely Imran Khan is deliberately seeking adjournments on one or other pretext and also reluctant to appear before this commission which amounts to mockery on law. Such conduct of respondent could not be tolerable, as his non-appearance before this commission seems to be intentional,” read an order issued by a four-member ECP bench, comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana, and Justice Ikramullah Khan.
“Consequently, in the circumstances of the case, we have left with no alternate except to issue bailable warrant of arrest against respondent in sum of Rs50,000/- (fifty thousand) with two sureties in the like amount each. The bailable warrants shall be executed through the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad office, to take follow-up action forthwith and list the matter on 14.03.2023,” the order added.
The electoral body, in January this year, issued a total of five bailable arrest warrants against the three PTI leaders in the contempt case.
In this context, two arrest warrants each were issued for Khan and Chaudhry for the alleged contempt of ECP and CEC, whereas, arrest warrant for Umar was issued for the alleged ECP contempt only.
The poll body initiated contempt proceedings against the chairman PTI, SG and VP in August last year.
On several occasions, the PTI top leaders have minced no words to take on the ECP and the CEC.
Addressing mammoth public rallies in recent months, the PTI chief has alleged that the incumbent CEC is “biased” against the PTI and is supporting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The former federal ruling party has moved Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for the removal of CEC.
Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017 provides that the 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 - or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023