ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued on Thursday non-bailable arrest warrants of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in relation to a contempt of court case against him.
The five-member ECP, bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan, heard the case.
The ECP ordered the police to arrest Imran and present him before the commission on October 26.
However, the PTI has said it will challenge the decision in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Addressing the media, PTI’s Babar Awan said the ECP has issued a non-bailable warrant in a case where a bailable warrant has already been dismissed by the IHC.
Moreover, the petitioner in the case, Akbar Babar, said Imran challenges the authority of every institution that takes action against him.
He said Imran cast aspersions against a constitutional body.
At the last hearing, on September 27, the ECP had adjourned the case until the IHC decides on the party’s petition regarding the proceedings.
The CEC had observed that it will issue its order in the contempt case if the IHC does not decide the case on October 11.
Imran Khan’s ‘apology’
At the previous hearing on September 25, the PTI chief, in his reply submitted through his lawyer Babar Awan, stated that “I respect the ECP and believe in the supremacy of institutions.”
Khan stated that he confirms the apology tendered by his previous counsel, Saqlain Haider, regarding the “contemptuous” remarks, adding that the contempt of court matter is a “closed transaction belonging to the past.”
The PTI chief’s counsel then requested the ECP to withdraw the show-cause notice issued on September 24.
On September 14, the ECP had issued bailable warrants against Imran to ensure his presence in the case.
The ECP had ordered Imran to submit a surety bond of Rs100,000 until September 25 and nominate two persons who would ensure payment of the amount and be held responsible otherwise.
Imran was also ordered to appear on that day in the commission in person.
However, the PTI approached the IHC which, on September 20, suspended the bailable arrest warrants. Hearing the case, Justice Aamer Farooq, who headed a three-member larger bench, directed the PTI chief to reply to the ECP’s show-cause notice.
Babar Awan assured the court that the PTI chairman would reply to the ECP’s show-cause notice with regards to contempt proceedings against him.
The ECP had issued the contempt notice to Khan on January 24 over his “scandalous remarks” about the commission.
Babar, the petitioner who had filed the foreign funding case against the PTI leadership, had informed the ECP that the PTI chief had accused it of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his counsel tendered an apology with the commission.
Babar is also one of the founding members of the PTI.
Several times since then, Imran has accused the ECP, among other government bodies, of being compromised and working for the benefit of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister and head of the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.