ECP barred from taking action against PTI in contempt case

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The Sindh and Lahore high courts on Tuesday retrained the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from taking action against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry.

Fawad Chaudhry had moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench against the electoral watchdog’s contempt of commission notice.

Earlier this month, the ECP had issued contempt notices to PTI leaders Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar for levelling allegations at the electoral body and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.

The electoral body had directed the opposition leaders to appear before it in person or submit their response through their lawyers on August 31.

As Justice Jawad Hassan heard the case on Tuesday, Fawad’s counsel Advocate Faisal Farid argued that the ECP is not a court and therefore as per the constitution is not protected by the “contempt of court provisions”.

Subsequently, the court issued a notice seeking a response from the electoral body on September 7 while restraining it from issuing a final order on the matter.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the ECP held a hearing on the contempt case against PTI chief Imran Khan, party General Secretary Asad Umar and senior mem ber Fawad Chaudhry.

Imran’s lawyer Ali Bukhari informed the commission during the proceedings that he was “unsure why the notice was served” and requested time to submit a response.

Bukhari said that the order of the commission has also been challenged in the Sindh High Court (SHC) while the LHC has restrained the ECP from taking a decision.

Later, PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry informed the court that the SHC had also stopped the commission in Asad Umar’s case.

The former ruling party’s lawyer also claimed that they had “learned of the notice only orally” and requested time to submit the power of attorney letters.

Upon this, the commission adjourned the hearing until September 7.

While issuing notices earlier, the ECP spokesperson had said in a statement that notices were issued to the PTI chief Imran Khan for using “insulting and unparliamentary remarks” against the electoral body in various speeches.

 

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