KARACHI: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Khursheed Shah on Thursday advised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to appear before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) bench in a contempt of court case.
While speaking to reporters, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader said that Imran should appear before the ECP rather than being taken before the bench by police officials and embarrassed publicly. “Imran would be wise to appear before the court and send a message to the people that he respects the supremacy of institutions,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday, the ECP had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran in connection with a contempt of court case filed against him by Akbar Babar, who is a PTI dissident and one of its founding members.
The five-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan, heard the case against the PTI chief. Earlier, the bench had suspended court proceedings immediately after the hearing began and reconvened in the chambers to reach a final decision. Later, the ECP ordered the police to arrest Imran and present him before the commission on October 26.
However, PTI officials said that the party would challenge the decision in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Talking to reporters, PTI’s Babar Awan said that the ECP had issued a new warrant in the same case where a bailable warrant was already suspended. He said that the party leadership would look into the matter to ascertain whether contempt of IHC’s full bench had been committed or not. We would then proceed to challenge it according to the situation, he added.
On the other hand, the petitioner, Akbar Babar, said that Imran had always challenged the supremacy of institutions that had dared to take action against him. He said that the PTI chief had cast doubts in the public minds against a constitutional body by levelling false allegations against it.
It merits mention here that the ECP, last month, had issued bailable arrest warrants against the PTI chief in connection with the contempt of court case and also ordered him to submit surety bonds worth Rs 0.1 million. The bench had also directed him to appear before the court on September 25 or else face the consequences of his actions.