ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday barred the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from taking any final action against Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case relating to violation of the election code of conduct.
On Friday, the ECP had imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on the prime minister for a third time in the last few days for violation of the code of conduct during the second phase of the local government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
PM Imran Khan and Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar had filed a petition in the IHC, challenging the notices issued to them by the ECP for attending a public meeting in Dir.
At the outset of today's hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan argued that the premier could not remain neutral while participating in political activities. However, the ECP can ensure that the prime minister does not announce any government’s scheme in political gatherings.
“Head of the state can be stopped from taking part in political activities but the head of the government can’t be barred,” he argued before the bench.
The ECP is serving notices and slapping penalties on him, he said, adding that the next step is a disqualification.
“How can the ECP do this?” asked the attorney general. He urged the IHC to halt the ECP’s proceeding on the case temporarily and stopped the election body from taking any final decision on the case.
Meanwhile, the IHC ordered the ECP not to take a final decision in the case.
The IHC judge remarked that the ECP can issue a notice if found violation of the code of conduct during the election campaigns but the body does not have the authority to impose penalties or disqualify anybody after the notices.
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