ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry have been summoned to appear before the Election Commission of Pakistan on January 3 in connection with the contempt cases against them.
None of the three appeared before the four-member ECP bench, headed by Sindh Member Nisar Durrani on Monday.
Faisal Chaudhry informed the bench on a query that Imran Khan could not appear before the ECP because he was unable to travel. To this, Member Balochistan asked for Imran Khan’s medical certificate.
Lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said that the medical certificate will also be presented but said it would be appropriate to allow the decision of Supreme Court as “the apex court has upheld our objections to the ECP decision”. Advocate Faisal Chaudhry said the guidelines of the Supreme Court should be allowed to come.
Member ECP Sindh said that it was fine to wait for the decision of the Supreme Court, but why the parties were not appearing. The PTI lawyer said that he was applying for an exemption from appearance on behalf of Fawad Chaudhry, who has fever and flu and hence cannot appear.
On his part, Member ECP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa asked if Imran Khan was sick why the rest of the people did not appear. Anwar Mansoor said that it would be appropriate to run everyone’s case simultaneously as the Lahore High Court had suspended the show cause to Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry.
Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that the show cause notice was issued by the ECP bench and not by the ECP secretary. PTI’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor insisted that the order of the commission was not in accordance with the law. The Member ECP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said, “If the commission makes a mistake, then you will get relief from the High Court”. Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that no one should doubt the intentions of the watchdog as they had no enmity with anyone. “We are not angry with anyone,” he continued.
Meanwhile, the commission’s Sindh member said that contempt was committed against the ECP as an institution, not against a specific individual. “Do not make us the villains here,” the KP member added. Upon this, Faisal Chaudhry expressed full confidence in the commission’s ability to deliver justice.
The PTI counsel said that all political parties and individuals are bound to respect the institutions, whatever has to happen, has to be in accordance with the law and that he was confident that the commission will do justice.
The Member Punjab remarked that Asad Umar apologised in the court, then why he was not appearing before the commission’s bench. He should also come and say that he had not wanted to say all this. Faisal Chaudhry replied that he will convey this message to him.
At the same time, the ECP bench directed Imran Khan, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry to appear before it on the next hearing and adjourned the hearing till January 3, 2023.
The ECP had issued a contempt notice to Imran Khan, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry in August last for insulting the ECP during their various public meetings, press conferences and several interviews. A separate notice was also issued to PTI chairman in connection with the contempt of the chief election commissioner.
Meanwhile, according to the ECP announcement, the verdict in the disqualification case against Faryal Talpur, who is the sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari, will be announced Wednesday at 12:30pm. The case was filed against her by MPAs Arsalan Taj and Rabia Azfar.