The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved its judgment on the maintainability of a petition filed against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding foreign funding.
The PTI had challenged the ECP’s decision to hear a contempt case against its party chief, Imran Khan.
On Tuesday, PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor argued before the court that ECP is exceeding its jurisdiction.
“The ECP is neither a court nor a tribunal,” he said, adding that the institution cannot issue orders of handing over the party’s documents to any individual or institution.
However, the court reserved its verdict on the petition.
Earlier, arguing before the IHC bench headed by Justice Aamer Farooq, PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor had submitted that the foreign funding case is already being heard in the Supreme Court; thus the ECP should cease proceedings in the case till the apex court decides on the matter.
Justice Farooq had then observed how could the IHC interfere in a case already underway in the apex court.
The court then issued notices to the petitioner of the foreign funding case in the ECP, PTI’s ‘disgruntled’ member Akbar Babar, and the ECP, to reply by September 7.
On August 10, the ECP ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear contempt proceedings and issued a notice to the PTI chairman.
The ECP had earlier reserved its verdict on the PTI’s petition against the institution’s jurisdiction to hear contempt cases.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, had issued a show-cause notice to the PTI chief, directing him to reply to a contempt petition against him by August 23.
At the last hearing on July 25, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan had argued that only the high court and Supreme Court can take up proceedings for contempt as per the Constitution.
He said a legal framework needs to be put in place in order for the ECP to take up contempt proceedings, as the 1976 Contempt of Court ceases to exist.
The ECP had issued the contempt notice to Khan on January 24 over his “scandalous remarks” about the commission.
Akbar Babar, the petitioner who had filed the foreign funding case against the PTI leadership had informed the ECP that the PTI chief had accused the ECP of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his counsel tendered an apology with the commission.
The petitioner said in a TV interview that Khan said his counsel had apologised in a personal capacity and he had not apologised to the commission.