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PTI Chief Imran Khan to Appear Before ECP Today

Islamabad (October 26, 2017) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan will appear before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Contempt of court case today.

The ECP had issued non-bailable warrants for Imran arrest after he failed to appear before the Commission after repeated summon. Though, the Islamabad High Court (IH) suspended the non-bailable warrant, the PTI chief will be appearing before the ECP what the party describes ‘voluntarily’.

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On October 12, a five-member bench of ECP issued the warrants after the PTI chairman ignored the polls supervisory body’s August 24 show-cause notice.Imran, who was accused of ‘defaming and scandalising’ the top electoral body by a disgruntled PTI member Akbar S Babar, has 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.

However, in what comes as a major deviation from his stated stance, the PTI last week issued a statement after its core group meeting, announcing that Imran would appear before the ECP despite standing by the PTI’s earlier stance on the issue of ECP’s jurisdiction.
“Imran Khan will go to the ECP voluntarily on October 26, without prejudice to the PTI’s view on the issue of contempt taken before the IHC for challenging jurisdiction of the ECP on contempt,” said the statement.

“The party’s core group categorically finds that the ECP has failed entirely in this. The core group feels the CEC must realise the genuine grievances the PTI has as a result of the events and action and in some cases of inaction during hearings against the party as well as its chairman, and in by-elections.

“The lessons to have been learnt through 40 critiques, pointed out by the Judicial Commission (JC) in the rigging case, have been ignored in all subsequent by-elections that have followed where the ECP failed to rectify any of these 40 lapses in electoral law,” it added.The statement said the chief election commissioner (CEC) had sought only to scrutinise the PTI’s accounts, its funding and its overseas membership despite the fact that PTI was one of the few political parties to submit details of all its accounts every year before the ECP.

“The CEC, ignoring grave violations of the election law and code on the part of the PML-N in by-polls like NA-120 and earlier in NA-122, has also led to serious issues being raised by the PTI core group,” it said.

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.

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