ECP to hear contempt case against Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will hear the contempt case against PTI chief Imran Khan and two other party leaders on Thursday (today).

During the last hearing on Oct 26, the ECP hinted at indicting Mr Khan, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar and Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry over the alleged use of intemperate and contemptuous rem­arks against the commission and its chief.

“We will have no other choice after Nov 10 but to charge-sheet Imran Khan, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry if they fail to appear in the contempt case,” ECP member from Sindh Nisar Ahmad Durrani said while heading a four-member bench that heard the contempt case.

Anwar Mansoor, Mr Khan’s counsel, had however argued that the question of legality of the show-cause notice should be decided first, as he contended it had been issued by the ECP secretary and not the commission.

He argued that unless this issue was resolved, the show-cause notices were illegal. When Mr Mansoor requested the bench to hold the hearing after Oct 31, Mr Durrani said there would be no option but to frame charges on or after Nov 10.

The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had on Sept 21 provided relief to Mr Khan and Mr Chaudhry as it suspended the contempt notices issued to them by the ECP.

LHC senior judge Justice Jawadul Hassan heard the petitions filed by the two leaders through their lawyers against the ECP’s notice wherein they took the stance that the election watchdog lacked the jurisdiction to pursue contempt proceedings against them.

“...it is directed that the proceedings may continue but no final order shall be passed till [the] outcome of the writ petition and in the meanwhile, no adverse action shall be taken against the petitioner(s) under [the] garb of the impugned notices, till the next date of hearing,” Justice Hasan’s order said.

Meanwhile, the ECP will take up the case of local government polls in Karachi division on Nov 15. The case was earlier fixed for hearing on Nov 9 but had to be put off due to Iqbal Day being declared a public holiday by the government.

The ECP, which met with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair on Nov 3, had decided to hold a hearing on the delayed LG polls.

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