ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a clear warning to the leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that they could face ex parte proceedings if they failed to appear at a subsequent hearing of the contempt case.
The case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Secretary General Asad Umar, and Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry is currently being heard by the ECP.
The three leaders’ bailable arrest warrants that the electoral body had issued were also suspended on Monday by the Lahore High Court.
The Balochistan member of the ECP asked, “Where are Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhary?” at the beginning of the hearing on Tuesday.
The assistant of Advocate Faisal Chaudhry informed the ECP panel at this point that the PTI leaders and their attorneys were unable to attend the hearing because they were required to attend the funeral of former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Latif Afridi in Peshawar.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa member of the electoral body stated that the high court had suspended their arrest warrants, but that they were still required to attend the proceedings, and that they had also not submitted an exemption request.
Nisar Durrani, a member of the ECP in Sindh, stated that if the PTI leaders fail to attend the subsequent hearing, the ECP will hold ex parte proceedings and announce the verdict.
The hearing was postponed until January 24 by the ECP panel.
The PTI leaders received a contempt notice from the ECP in August of last year for insulting the commission and its head during public meetings, interviews, and press conferences.
LHC suspends arrest warrants issued by the ECP On Monday, the LHC Rawalpindi Bench lifted the bailable arrest warrants for PTI leaders issued by the ECP.
Last week, the warrants issued by the ECP’s four-member bench were suspended by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan of the LHC.
The court ordered the ECP to continue its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders, despite suspending the warrants.
Following the ECP’s decision last week, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry announced that he would challenge the warrants in the high court and plead contempt of court against ECP.
Court cautions PTI against targetting legal executive
During the consultation, the court commented “PTI looks for alleviation from the legal executive however targets them in the media”.
“It is dishonest to target the judiciary in the media. “The court was warned that contempt of court proceedings would be initiated if Fawad Chaudhry targets the courts once more in the media.”
During an interview with an international channel, Justice Khan made the observation that Fawad attributed corruption to the judiciary. He also told the lawyer for the PTI leader that the court was giving him relief right now, but that he should tell his client not to talk down on the courts.
Justice Khan made the observation, “Enough is enough, the court will no longer show restraint.”