ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan, Tuesday, regretted from appearing before the electoral body in the contempt case, citing his engagements with regard to multiple cases pending against him in the courts, before the poll body again summoned him and other two senior PTI leaders this June 5.
The poll body warned that non-bailable arrest warrants would be issued against the three PTI leaders, Imran Khan, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar and Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, if they did not appear before the commission on the given date in the contempt case.
In the proceedings of the case, the ECP bench inquired from the defence side as to why the PTI chief did not show up at the case.
Faisal Chaudhry, the defence lawyer, categorically responded that “scores of cases” were pending against the former PM.
“We have up to 150 cases pending against us in the courts. Up to 36 cases are heard daily. Even today, he (Khan) is appearing in different cases and inquiries in the courts and NAB (National Accountability Bureau).” A four-member ECP bench comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Muhammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana and former Justice Ikram Ullah Khan is hearing the case.
Following arguments from the defence side, the bench adjourned the case on June 5 and summoned the three PTI leaders in person on this date.
On May 16, the ECP bench summoned the chairman PTI in person in this case on May 23.
In the proceedings of this case then, the bench asked the defence side that the PTI chief was summoned on a previous occasion but he did not appear.
The defence counsel said Khan’s cases were pending in the courts, and, he was, therefore, unable to appear before the bench. On August 19, last year, the ECP issued contempt notices to the three PTI leaders for their strong public criticism of the ECP and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on different occasions. The case is pending since then.
On October 26, last year, the ECP amended the election rules to authorise its officers to issue contempt notices to the alleged “contemnors.”
The electoral entity, by amending the rules, also empowered itself to grant bail to persons arrested on the charges of the ECP contempt. The ECP made these amendments in exercise of its powers under Section 239 of Elections Act 239, according to a notification issued then.
The electoral body amended Section 4(6) of the Election Rules 2017. This section deals with procedure related to the contempt of the ECP.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023