Home Latest News ECP Issues Bailable Arrest Warrants for Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry

ECP Issues Bailable Arrest Warrants for Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry

Accusing PTI chief of ‘deliberately’ seeking adjournments of proceedings, electoral body directs Islamabad police to execute warrants

by Staff Report

File photo. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry over their non-appearance in a case related to “contemptuous” remarks against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja.

A four-member bench comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hasan Bharwana, and Justice (retd.) Ikramullah Khan noted that despite multiple summons, both PTI leaders had failed to attend any hearings. “Consequently, in the circumstances of the case, we have left with no alternative except to issue a bailable warrant of arrest against respondent in the sum of Rs. 50,000 with two sureties in the like amount each,” read the ruling issued by the ECP, adding that the warrants would be executed through the Islamabad Inspector General of Police. Directing the police to take the required follow-up action, it listed the next hearing for the case on March 14.

In separate orders for Khan and Fawad, the ECP noted that they had both been directed to appear in person several times but had failed to do so. It further noted that the PTI chief had “deliberately” sought adjournments on various pretexts and was reluctant to appear before the bench, which “amounts to a mockery of the law.” Stressing that this conduct was “not tolerable,” it said his non-appearance seemed to be an intentional decision.

The contempt proceedings against Fawad and Khan were initiated for allegedly using foul language against the CEC, with the electoral body directing both leaders to appear in person and explain their point of view. However, rather than appearing before the ECP, they had challenged the ECP’s powers to initiate contempt proceedings in various high courts. The Supreme Court, ruling on a petition filed by the ECP to club the separate challenge together, had allowed the ECP to continue proceedings but barred it from issuing any final orders.

Last month, the ECP had issued bailable arrest warrants for Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry, directing them to appear on March 10. These were suspended by the Lahore High Court (LHC), which had directed the ECP to carry on with the contempt proceedings.

Referring to the LHC ruling, Fawad claimed the ECP’s arrest warrants were in violation of it. “[We] will get the ECP summoned by the high court in contempt of court,” he claimed.

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