The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued arrest warrants for Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday, Geo News reported. The ECP has made the decision in a case involving “contemptuous” remarks against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
A four-member bench comprising ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hasan Bharwana and Justice (retd) Ikram Ullah Khan issued the order because Mr Khan failed to appear in the court case, according to the news report.
“Consequently, given the circumstances of the case, we have no choice but to issue an arrest warrant against the defendant in the amount of Rs 50,000/- (fifty thousand) each with two sureties for the same amount,” the verdict reads. issued by the ECP reads, according to Geo News report.
In the verdict, the ECP said the bail orders will be executed by the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad, and ordered the office to take immediate follow-up action and file the case on March 14.
In the orders issued separately for Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry, the ECP said they had been ordered to appear in person several times. However, they did not appear in court, according to the Geo News report.
The election watchdog stated that the PTI chief deliberately sought a reprieve under some pretext or other and was hesitant to appear in court, which they said “amounts to a travesty of the law”. According to the news report, the order reads: “Such conduct by Defendant cannot be tolerated as his non-appearance before this Commission appears to be deliberate.”
Last week, the hearing was adjourned for several minutes after Imran Khan and two other defendants failed to appear before the Commission in the case related to the contempt of ECP and Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, Geo News reported.
Fawad Chaudhry responded to the ECP’s order saying that the order is contrary to the orders of the Lahore High Court. On January 6, the Lahore High Court suspended the ECP’s arrest warrants for Mr Khan, Fawad Chaudhry and the party’s General Secretary Asad Umar in the case.
Fawad Chaudhry tweeted: “The order of the Election Commission is a violation of the orders of the Lahore High Court, the Election Commission will be summoned to the Supreme Court for contempt of court.”
Last year, the ECP launched contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders for alleged foul language against the chief election commissioner, according to the Geo News report. Pakistan’s top electoral body has also sent them several messages asking them to appear in person.
However, the PTI leaders failed to appear before the ECP and later challenged its powers in several high courts.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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