ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were sternly cautioned by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday that they would face ex parte proceedings if they skipped the next hearing in the contempt matter.
Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry, the senior vice president and secretary general of the PTI, are being tried by the ECP.
The Lahore High Court suspended the three leaders’ arrest warrants that were also issued by the election authority on Monday.
Where are Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhary, the Balochistan member of the ECP demanded at the start of the session on Tuesday.
The ECP panel was then informed by Advocate Faisal Chaudhry’s assistant that the PTI leaders and their legal representatives were unable to attend the hearing because they had to travel to Peshawar to attend the funeral of former SCBA president Latif Afridi.
Despite the high court suspending their arrest warrants, member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa claimed they were still required to attend the sessions and had not requested an exemption.
If the PTI leaders skip the subsequent hearing, according to member Sindh Nisar Durrani, the ECP will conduct ex parte proceedings and render a decision.
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
“PTI seeks redress from the judiciary yet targets them in the media,” the court observed during the hearing.
“Media criticism of the judiciary constitutes contempt of court. If Fawad Chaudhry continues to criticise the courts in the media, contempt of court actions would be taken “the court was told.
Justice Khan stated that Fawad had blamed the judiciary for corruption in an interview with a global station. Additionally, he advised the PTI leader’s attorney to advise his client to desist from disparaging the courts while the court was still providing him with relief.
Justice Khan said, “Enough is enough, the court will no longer exercise restraint.”
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