ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ban on party heads and lawmakers to visit constituencies after the by-elections schedule is announced.
Justice Aamer Farooq released the final order on Monday and dismissed Khan’s appeal stating that “ECP is free to continue its case’s proceedings against him”.
During the hearing, ECP’s counsel Sanaullah Zahid argued that “the commission had issued similar notices to a number of politicians for violating its code of conduct”.
“With the exception of the PTI chief,” the ECP counsel said, “all the politicians had tendered unconditional apologies, which were accepted by the ECP”.
Zahid further told the judge that “Khan not only violated the code of conduct but was also reluctant to respond to the notice”.
In 2015, the ECP had directed the president, prime minister, chief ministers, state ministers, governors and advisers from visiting a constituency or delivering speeches there, once the by-election schedules are announced.
Imran Khan ignored the directives and campaigned in Lodhran, Sahiwal and Lahore and was then issued a notice by the ECP.
Khan challenged the ECP’s notice in the IHC, arguing that electioneering during by-polls is his right guaranteed by Article 16 of Constitution. He had urged the court to rule the ECP’s notice “illegal”.