ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and party leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry in a contempt case against them.
The electoral watchdog had received the Supreme Court's nod to continue its contempt proceedings against the former premier and his aides last week.
Today, a four-member bench of ECP headed by Nisar Durrani issued the arrest warrants of the PTI leaders during the contempt proceeding, while rejecting their pleas for exemption from appearance. The commission had reserved the verdict on their pleas on January 3.
The bench directed Khan and others to appear before it at the next hearing which is scheduled on January 17.
In line with the last week's directives by the apex court, the ECP on Monday ordered Khan, Umar and Fawad to appear before it on the next date of hearing in the contempt case.
However, none of the three appeared before the four-member ECP bench. Instead, Khan and Fawad's counsel Ali Bukhari appeared before the bench and told that Fawad's mother is hospitalised, hence, he could not appear before the bench.
He also submitted Khan’s medical certificate and said that his client was not allowed to travel by the doctors.
Meanwhile, Umar's lawyer also informed the bench of the reason for his absence from the hearing.
“We have applied against the show cause notice, all three cases are of the same nature. The hearing will be held together and I will give a mandatory reply to the show cause on the next date.”
On the occasion, the ECP DG law had said that he had written in the show cause notice that it had been issued from the Election Commission.
The ECP bench said that warrants were being issued for the appearance of the parties. To this, lawyer Ali Bukhari said that if a warrant was issued, then their application would not be heard.
At this, the ECP warned him that the body would issue warrants for PTI leaders if they don't ensure their presence at the next hearing.
Later, the ECP adjourned the hearing till January 17.
It may be recalled that in August last year the ECP had issued a contempt notice to Imran, Asad and Fawad for insulting the commission during various public meetings, press conferences and several interviews. The notice charged that they insulted and passed unparliamentary, intemperate and contemptuous remarks against the electoral body on various occasions.
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