Islamabad (October 26, 2017): Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dropped contempt of court cases against PTI chief Imran Khan .
A five members bench of ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan heard the contempt of court case against the PTI chief.
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The EECP ended contempt proceedings against Imran Khan after accepting his unconditional apology he submitted to ECP.The PTI chief finally appeared before the commission today two week after his non-bailable arrest warrant was issued. Though later IHC suspended the warrants, but the PTI chief appeared before the ECP what PTI said ‘voluntarily.’
PTI counsel Babar Awan, Secretary General Jahangir Tareen and leaders Shafqat Mehmood and Naeemul Haque accompanied Imran to the ECP.
During the hearing, Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza directed Khan’s lawyer to submit a written apology over his remarks accusing the ECP of bias in the foreign funding case.
Awan argued that the PTI chief had apologised twice over his remarks, but the election commissioner directed him to submit a written apology signed by Khan. Khan and his lawyer then penned down the apology before submitting it to the ECP.
After months of foot-dragging over the issue, the PTI had announced that its chief would “voluntarily” appear before the ECP last week. The announcement had come on the heels of ECP’s decision to issue non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan on contempt charges.
The ECP had issued non-bailable arrest warrants of Khan on October 12 after his continuous failure to appear before the ECP on the show-cause notice issued for “defaming and scandalising” the ECP in the foreign funding case.While the PTI announced that Khan would appear before the commission voluntarily and without prejudice to the party’s view about the jurisdiction of the ECP on contempt, the ECP said it enjoyed clearly defined powers under the law to try and punish contemnors.
Earlier on September 14, the ECP had issued bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan following his failure to show up for the contempt of court proceedings. The warrants were later suspended by the IHC on the PTI’s petition.In August, the ECP had issued a second show-cause notice to Imran Khan after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Imran Khan had initially challenged the maintainability of the contempt petition and raised objections over ECP’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him; the commission, however, declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case.Imran, who was accused of ‘defaming and scandalising’ the top electoral body by a disgruntled PTI member Akbar S Babar, had earlier ignored at least half a dozen ECP summons to appear in person as he insists that the ECP lacks jurisdiction to start contempt proceedings against an MP.It all started on November 14, 2014 when one of the PTI’s founding members, Akbar S Babar, filed a case in the ECP against the PTI’s alleged funding from prohibited foreign sources.
The case – which is still pending before the commission – took several turns before Babar on January 23, 2017 filed a contempt application against Imran for what he called his “scandalous remarks” on the ECP.
Imran later challenged in the IHC the ECP’s jurisdiction to start contempt proceedings against him after the ECP rejected his plea that it could not conduct contempt proceedings.However, the PTI approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which, on September 20, suspended the non-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.