IHC suspends Imran’s arrest warrants in contempt of court proceedings

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended arrest warrant of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan issued by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in contempt of court proceedings against him.

A larger bench headed by Justice Aamir Farooq, comprising Justice Miangul Hussan Aurangzeb and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani suspended orders hearing of the case moved by PTI chief challenging powers of the ECP to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him.

However the suspension of arrest warrants of Imran would be conditional with submission of reply to ECP in contempt of court proceedings against him till September 25.

During the course of proceedings, Dr Babar Awan counsel for the petitioner argued that only superior courts could run a contempt of court proceeding against an accused, however ECP had no jurisdiction to exercise the powers of superior courts.

He argued that ECP exceeded its jurisdiction and issued bailable arrest warrant of his client and requested to suspend it till the case was subjudice before the IHC.

Babar Awan apprised the court that commission issued a formal show cause notice to appear in-person on September 25 to his client asking to submit a reply.

Babar Awan pleaded that ECP had only mandated to conduct free and fair elections and if it superseded its powers then it would be violation of law and to support his stance he submitted many authorities as well.

He pleaded that after implementation of new Electoral Reforms such powers might be given to the ECP but not yet, he added.

The bench after going through the arguments suspended arrest warrants of Imran and adjourned further hearing till September 26.

Earlier the bench rejected plea for the immediate stay on the contempt of court proceedings

Imran Khan had challenged August 10 show cause notice to him issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Section 103A of the Representation of People Act 1976 and under Article 204 of the Constitution for committing contempt of court by not submitting record in connection with foreign funding to the party, despite orders.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had declared that it was within its jurisdiction to initiate contempt of court proceedings and issued a formal show cause notice to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, asking him to submit a reply by August 23.

In its short order, a full bench of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commission (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza rejected Imran Khan’s objections to the commission’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt of court proceedings and ruled that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case.

PTI founding member Akbar S Babar had filed the contempt application against Imran for accusing the ECP of bias and using slanderous language against it after the commission had demanded that PTI submit its financial documents