Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan Monday directed the Islamabad police to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan and produce him before it Tuesday in a case linked to contempt of the top electoral body.
Irked by Khan’s persistent absence from the hearings, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) instructed the Islamabad IG to arrest the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief for his failure to appear in the contempt case.
The ECP initiated contempt proceedings against Khan, 70, and former PTI leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.
A four-member ECP bench headed by member Nisar Durrani issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan and Chaudhry in the last hearing July 11 while sparing Umar. It rescheduled the hearing for July 25 with orders for all to appear.
In the latest orders, the ECP stated that Khan was “required in the contempt of the commission’s proceedings initiated in terms of Section 10 of the Elections Act, 2017” but he had failed to appear before the ECP even after he was served notices and bailable warrants for him were issued January 16 and March 2.
Earlier, the ECP had asked PTI leaders to appear in person or through their counsels to explain their position, but they challenged the notices and contempt proceedings in higher courts.
After lengthy proceedings, the Supreme Court in January allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against the three and subsequently, the top electoral body decided to frame charges against them.
Khan has been facing scores of cases in various courts which were framed after he was removed from power in April last year. Chaudhry, once a diehard supporter of Khan, left him after May 9 violence.
July 20, former PTI leader Chaudhry tendered an apology to the ECP in the contempt case filed against him by the electoral watchdog.
The ECP announcement came hours after the Supreme Court barred the authorities from arresting Khan till August 9 in the case of senior lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar’s murder in Quetta.