Pakistan

ECP concludes contempt case against Imran Khan after apology

Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) concluded the contempt proceedings against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday after the PTI chief submitted an unconditional apology to the election body over his remarks. 

Imran Khan arrived at the ECP today to attend the contempt proceedings underway against him. The PTI chief reached the ECP premises in an extensive protocol.

A large number of party workers and supporters were present at the ECP before his arrival including PTI Secretary General Jehangir Tareen, party spokesperson Naeem-ul-Haque, and Khan’s counsel Babar Awan.

At the outset of the proceedings, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan presented his arguments before the bench and argued that his client Khan believed in the supremacy of the law and had immense respect for the ECP.

“The PTI has been making all-out efforts to make the country’s top electoral regulatory body independent,” Awan asserted.

He presented several examples from Khan’s statements upholding the judiciary and the election reforms across the country.

Later, Awan pleaded for dismissal of the petition against his client.

To which, member ECP Irshad Qaiser queried whether Khan had submitted an unconditional apology.

In response, Awan said that his client had already made an apology and taken back the ‘scandalous remarks’ against the commission.

Responding to Awan’s assertion, the chief election commissioner inquired whether the contemptuous remarks could be taken back.

Awan said that the countrywide courts have dismissed contempt proceedings after a submission of an apology.

Subsequently, the petitioner’s counsel, Ahmed Hassan, presented his arguments and asserted that an apology should be made sincerely and the accused should feel regret for uttering the scandalous remarks, implying that Khan was not serious about his apology.

“Khan has committed contempt of court several times and the PTI chief should furnish the bench with a reply in a show cause notice [issued earlier to him],” the petitioner’s counsel asserted.

In response, Awan said that his client had appeared before the bench in his personal capacity and making an apology. Hence, the bench should not question his expression of regret.

Later, the bench summoned a written apology from PTI chief Imran Khan.

After a brief consultation with his legal team, Khan submitted a written apology over his insulting remarks against the country’s top electoral body.

Following the submission of a written apology, the bench ruled that it accepted Khan’s apology. However, the ECP remarked that it did not accept the same apology for Khan’s subsequent remarks against the commission in Karachi during a press talk on September 20.

Later, Khan made another apology before the bench.

The ECP expressed satisfaction over the apologies made by the PTI chief and concluded contempt proceedings against him.

Non-bailable arrest warrants

On Oct 12, the top electoral body had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan over his ‘perpetual absence’during the contempt proceedings against him.

The five-member ECP bench then ordered the police to arrest Imran and present him before the commission on October 26.

Earlier this week, an Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench suspended the operation of non-bailable warrants issued for the arrest of the PTI chairman.

The bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb gave an interim order restraining the capital city police from arresting Khan till further orders.

The PTI chief through his counsel Babar Awan approached the high court had challenged his arrest warrants.

Awan submitted that the ECP had exceeded its authority after issuing the arrest warrants against Khan. The electoral body lacked jurisdiction to hear a contempt of court case, he argued.

He alleged that the PTI chief is being victimized politically for his stance against corruption.

Contempt proceedings

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 alleged 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.

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