Election Commission drops contempt case against Imran Khan
ISLAMABAD: Nearly two weeks after his non-bailable arrest warrants were issued; the Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday dropped contempt case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.
A five-member panel of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza dropped the charges after Khan submitted a written apology over his remarks against the electoral body.
Counsel for PTI chairman, prayed the panel headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza to drop the contempt case against his client. He informed the Commission that the Islamabad High Court has suspended arrest warrants issued by electoral body against PTI chairman.
During the hearing, Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza directed Khan’s lawyer to submit a written apology over his remarks accusing the ECP of bias in the foreign funding case.
Awan argued that the PTI chief had apologized twice over his remarks, but the election commissioner directed him to submit a written apology signed by Khan.
Secretary General PTI Jahangir Tareen and leaders Shafqat Mehmood and Naeemul Haque are accompanying Khan at the ECP.
After months of foot-dragging over the issue, the PTI had announced that its chief would “voluntarily” appear before the ECP last week. The announcement had come on the heels of ECP’s decision to issue non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan on contempt charges.
The warrants, which were suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) earlier this week, were issued on October 12 following Khan’s continuous failure to appear before the ECP on the show-cause notice issued for “defaming and scandalizing” the ECP in the foreign funding case.
While the PTI announced that Khan would appear before the commission voluntarily and without prejudice to the party’s view about the jurisdiction of the ECP on contempt, the ECP said it enjoyed clearly defined powers under the law to try and punish contemnors.
Earlier on September 14, the ECP had issued bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan following his failure to show up for the contempt of court proceedings. The warrants were later suspended by the IHC on the PTI’s petition.
In August, the ECP had issued a second show-cause notice to Imran Khan after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Imran Khan had initially challenged the maintainability of the contempt petition and raised objections over ECP’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him; the commission, however, declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case.