ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday deferred its decision in the contempt case filed against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to October 12.
A four-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza asked PTI counsel Shahid Gondal about the status of the petition filed by the party in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against ECP’s judgement regarding the maintainability of the contempt petition. The PTI counsel informed the bench that the high court had adjourned hearing of the petition until October 11. However, the CEC remarked that the bench had not received a copy of the IHC order as yet.
The bench subsequently adjourned the hearing of the contempt petition until October 12.
“We will issue our decision if the Islamabad High Court does not decide the case by October 12,” Raza remarked.
During the previous hearing on Monday, Imran Khan’s counsel Dr Babar Awan submitted that the PTI chief’s previous counsel Saqlain Haider had apologised on his client’s behalf over the ‘contemptuous’ remarks.
Awan pleaded the ECP to now dismiss contempt proceedings against his client. However, petitioner Akbar S Babar’s counsel objected, saying Imran Khan had not apologised to the court.
The ECP said it will announce its decision in the case on September 27 after reviewing the PTI chairman’s reply.
At the last hearing on September 14, the ECP had issued bailable warrants against Imran Khan to ensure his presence in the case.
However, the PTI approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the issuance of warrants. The IHC suspended the bailable arrest warrants for Khan on September 20, and directed the PTI chief to reply to the ECP’s show-cause notice.
Awan assured the court that the PTI chairman would reply to the ECP’s show-cause notice with regards to contempt proceedings against him. The IHC then adjourned the hearing until September 26.
The ECP had ordered Imran Khan to submit a surety bond of Rs100,000 until September 25 and nominate two persons who would ensure payment of the amount and be held responsible otherwise.
Imran Khan was also ordered to appear on that day in the commission in person.
Earlier, on September 14, during the hearing of contempt proceedings, Awan had argued before the ECP that proceedings against his client should be postponed until the matter is decided by the high court.The ECP had summoned Imran in person on that as well but he failed to do so.
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 it of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his counsel tendered an apology with the commission.
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