ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday deferred the date of announcing its judgment in contempt of court case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
A four-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) (CEC) Sardar Raza Khan, resumed hearing the case against the PTI chief today.
During the proceedings, Khan’s counsel Advocate Shahid Naseem Gondal appeared before the commission on behalf of Babar Awan.
In reply to CEC query about details of Islamabad High Court (IHC) proceedings in the similar case, Gondal said that case in the IHC has been adjourned till October 11.
The CEC then remarked that the bench has not received a copy of court orders.
To which, Khan’s counsel said the document would be submitted shortly. The hearing was briefly adjourned until the counsel submitted the court orders.
Subsequently, the CEC observed that the commission will give its judgment in the contempt case if the IHC does not wrap up the case till October 11.
Later, the bench adjourned the hearing till October 12.
In the last hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan submitted his reply to the commission, stating that his client has respect for the commission and believes in the supremacy of the institutions.
“We were demanding the reply which you [Babar Awan] have submitted today,” the bench remarked.
Awan said that his client had taken back the ‘scandalous remarks’ against the commission, hence the issue has been resolved, adding that Khan had made an unconditional apology on the matter.
Moreover, he requested the ECP to withdraw the show-cause notice issued on September 24.
Hearing his arguments, the bench had reserved its verdict in the case.
Sponsored action against PTI Chief: Babar Awan
Talking to media persons outside the ECP building on Monday, Awan said the ECP bench had reserved its verdict in the case after submission of Imran Khan’s reply.
Calling the court proceedings against Imran as sponsored action, he said that some political quarters are engaged to distract democratic reforms’ process and such cases against his client were being filed under a malicious design.
September 14 hearing
Earlier in the last hearing session on September 14, the bench had expressed resentment over flouting of the election commission’s summons by Imran Khan while issuing his bailable arrest warrant.
Issuing directives for submission of Rs100,000 surety bond to PTI chief until September 25, the ECP had also ordered him to turn up before it in person by the same date.
Subsequently, the commission had ordered the authorities concerned to arrest and produce Khan by the date.
The warrant was bailable as it read the PTI chief may let go on submission of Rs100,000 surety bond along with two guarantors for attending the ECP hearings.
“Imran has been charged with contempt of ECP under Section 103-A of the Representation of People Act, 1976 for failing to appear before the commission despite a show cause notice,” the warrant read.
On the flip side, PTI had approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the party chief’s arrest warrants.
Suspending the bailable arrest warrants, Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC directed Imran Khan to submit a reply to the ECP’s show-cause notice.
During the ECP hearing in contempt case on September 14, PTI chief’s counsel Babar Awan had contended that the ECP should halt its proceedings in the case since the party had challenged subject-matter jurisdiction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), adding that his client reached Pakistan this morning after a brief stay in London and he is willing to turn up before the commission.
The five-member ECP bench, headed by chief election commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan, was hearing a petition, filed by a former PTI leader Akbar Babar earlier this year alleging that PTI chief Imran Khan has committed contempt of court in his comments on the party funds, claiming that he had not apologized to the ECP over his comments instead his counsel did so in his personal capacity.
It merits to mention here that the ECP had issued the contempt notice to Khan on January 24 over his “scandalous remarks” about the commission.