ECP warns PTI leaders of ex parte action if they skip next hearing. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday strictly warned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders of ex parte proceedings if they failed to appear in another hearing of the contempt case.
The ECP is hearing the case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Secretary General Asad Umar and Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry.
The electoral body had also issued bailable arrest warrants —for the three leaders— which were suspended by the Lahore High Court on Monday.
At the outset of Tuesday’s hearing, ECP’s Balochistan member questioned, “Where are Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhary?”
At this, Advocate Faisal Chaudhry’s assistant told the ECP panel that the PTI leaders and their counsel could not make it to the hearing because they had to attend former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Latif Afridi’s funeral in Peshawar.
Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said the high court had suspended their arrest warrants but did not exempt them from attending the proceedings, adding that they did not file an exemption request either.
Member Sindh Nisar Durrani said that the ECP will hold ex parte proceedings and announce the verdict if the PTI leaders skip the next hearing.
The ECP panel adjourned the hearing until January 24.
In August last year, the ECP issued a contempt notice to the PTI leaders for insulting the commission and its chief during public meetings, press conferences, and interviews.
LHC suspends ECP’s arrest warrants
On Monday, the LHC Rawalpindi Bench suspended the PTI leaders’ bailable arrest warrants issued by the ECP.
Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan of the LHC suspended the warrants issued by ECP’s four-member bench last week.
Even though the court suspended the warrants, it directed the ECP to carry on with its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.
Last week, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, immediately after the ECP’s decision, announced he would challenge the warrants in the high court and file a contempt plea against ECP.
Court warns PTI against targetting judiciary
During the hearing, the court remarked “PTI seeks relief from the judiciary but targets them in the media”.
“Targeting the judiciary in the media is contempt of court. If Fawad Chaudhry targets the courts in the media again, contempt of court proceedings will be launched,” warned the court.
Justice Khan remarked that Fawad during an interview with an international channel laid the blame for corruption on the judiciary. He also told the PTI leader’s lawyer that the court was granting him relief right now but he should tell his client to refrain from making contemptuous remarks against the courts.
“Enough is enough, the court will no longer show restraint,” remarked Justice Khan.