The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will indict Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman in the ECP contempt case on August 2.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday deferred the indictment of PTI Chairman Imran Khan till August 2 in a case pertaining to contempt of the electoral body and the chief election commissioner (CEC).
The ECP issued the directives as a four-member bench headed by member Nisar Durrani heard the case. During today’s hearing, Imran made his first appearance before the electoral watchdog since the case was taken up in October last year.
A day earlier, the ECP had ordered Islamabad police to arrest Imran and present him before the election watchdog.
The ECP had initiated contempt proceedings against the PTI chief, party leader Asad Umar and former information minister Chaudhry last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.
However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the three had challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which is the statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution. The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.
But in January, the Supreme Court had allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against Imran, Chaudhry and Umar, and on June 21, the ECP had decided to frame charges against the trio.
In the July 11 hearing, they did not appear before the commission despite being summoned, following which the ECP issued arrest warrants for Chaudhry and Imran. It had, however, accepted a plea by Umar’s lawyer to allow him an exemption from the hearing.
Today, Imran appeared before the ECP bench alongside his counsel, Shoaib Shaheen. A member of the ECP bench stated that they had intended to indict the former prime minister in the case today.
However, the PTI chief’s counsel requested the electoral watchdog to defer the hearing as he needed more time to gather the case record.
In response, the ECP asserted, “It is your responsibility to manage the file and case record.”
Subsequently, the watchdog accepted the counsel’s plea and postponed the indictment until August 2. It also directed him to ensure Imran’s presence during the next hearing.