ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for failing to show up for the contempt of court proceeding against him on Thursday.
The election body also ordered the PTI chief to submit surety bonds worth Rs0.1 million, and to ensure his presence in court on Sept 25.
The ECP was hearing the contempt of court case against Imran Khan filed by PTI dissident and one of the founding members, Akbar S. Babar.
Imran Khan’s lawyer Dr Babar Awan told the court that his client was abroad and had returned to the country just an hour ago.
“Imran Khan respects ECP and will appear before it whenever it orders,” Awan said. He added that the commission should halt its proceedings in the case for the day as the PTI’s challenge to ECP’s jurisdiction will be heard by a larger bench of the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.
The PTI chief had challenged the ECP’s decision to hear a contempt case against him in the IHC.
On this, the counsel for the petitioner argued that the ECP’s orders have been violated.
“Had he [Imran Khan] respected the institutions, he would have been present here,” said the counsel, asking the commission to continue with the regular proceeding.
The ECP reserved its judgement in the contempt case and issued bailable arrest warrants against the PTI chief.
The ECP had last month issued a second show-cause notice to Imran Khan after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Imran Khan had initially challenged the maintainability of the contempt petition and raised objections over ECP’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him. However, the ECP declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case. It then issued a formal show-cause notice to the PTI chairman, asking him to submit a reply by Aug 23.
Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan had then pleaded before the five-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza, that they wanted to challenge the ECP’s judgement regarding the maintainability of the contempt petition and hence, should be granted some time to do so.
Imran Khan had accused the ECP of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his lawyer had tendered an apology with the commission. However, the PTI chairman in a TV interview later said that his counsel had tendered an apology in his personal capacity and that he had not apologised.