Contempt notices to Imran Khan and others
THE Election Commission of Pakistan issued contempt notices to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and two other core leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhary for using intemperate language against the Chief Election Commissioner and the members of ECP.
They have been asked to appear in person or through their Counsel before the Commission on August 30 to explain their position.
The ECP has attached excerpts of the contemptuous remarks in the notices. In one of the two notices issued to Imran Khan, it has been pointed out that on July 18 in a public address he criticised the Commission for its decision to hold re-election in Daska and getting his party defeated.
In the same address, he had also accused the ECP of ignoring the use of police by the PPP to win local government elections in Sindh and targeted the ECP member from Sindh, saying he was drawing salary from the Sindh government and the Commission simultaneously.
On 21 July, Imran Khan talked about the recent by-polls in 20 Provincial Assembly constituencies of Punjab and said these polls besides the political parties had also been contested against the ECP and Administration.
He had alleged that the ECP used all tactics to get the PTI defeated. ECP should be punished for role they played in these elections.
On July 27, he said the most shameful role had been played by the ECP, which tried to defeat us in league with PML-N and Hamza.
The accusations have also been reported by the leading print and electronic media. On account of his derogatory and contemptuous remarks and acts he has wilfully and intentionally scandalized, ridiculed and maligned ECP and the members of the Constitutional Commission in order to bring the Commission and its members into hatred in the eyes of the general public, which otherwise is an attempt to prejudice, the process of forthcoming elections, which constitute a clear contempt of this Commission.
As per section 10 of Election Act 2017, the Commission may exercise the same powers as the High Court to punish any person for contempt of court and the contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly as if reference therein to a court and to a judge were a reference, respectively, to the Commission and the Commissioner or, as the case may be a member of the Commission.
As per Article 204 of the Constitution, Sub-Section 2, a Court shall have power to punish any person who abuses, interferes or obstructs the process of the Court in any way or disobeys any order of the Court, scandalize the Court or otherwise or a judge of the Court into hatred, ridicule or contempt.
As per section 232, where a person has been convicted for any offence under this Act or has been found guilty of any corrupt or illegal practice by a Tribunal, he shall, if the Commission is of the view that circumstances so warrant and makes an order to that effect in order from being, or being elected as a Member of Parliament or a Local Government.
In the notice to PTI Secretary General Asad Umar for using intemperate, unparliamentary language and contemptuous remarks against the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, reference has been made to the related; PEMRA recorded his news conferences on 27 July, 02 August and 10 August aired by the media.
Similarly, records have been obtained from PEMRA regarding remarks made by PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhary during his news conferences on 11 May, 19 July and 20 July this year.
Fawad made these remarks on 20 July, there is such CEC sitting in the Election Commission, who has no shame or dignity who planned sale and purchase during Senate elections.
Unfortunately due to political conflict, the country is going through turmoil and Imran Khan is levelling false and fabulous allegations that Establishment is behind crackdown on party.
Imran Khan has been booked in a terrorism charge for threatening Additional District Sessions Judge and Inspector General Police Islamabad in a public rally that drew strong reaction from the Federal Government.
The political parties and their supporters have embarked upon a dangerous course of polarisation which is not going to be beneficial to anyone.
The only beneficiary of such a situation can be the enemy. It is the responsibility of the leaders of all political parties as well as their supporters to ensure that the political temperature does not rise to a dangerous level.
It seems there is a competition among political leaders to excel in passing dangerous remarks and use foul, objectionable language, which has no justification at all.
It is better late than never, everyone must maintain decency and decorum as expected of people representatives and national leaders.
—The writer is former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.