The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday announced it will conduct the contempt case proceedings against former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and ex-party leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Dec. 13 (Wednesday) at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where both are currently incarcerated.
The ECP ruling, reserved on Nov. 30, was announced in light of the interior ministry refusing to produce the former prime minister before the electoral body over security concerns during the last hearing. According to the decision, the ECP would conduct indictment proceedings against Fawad and Khan in jail, for which it has asked the Interior Ministry to make necessary arrangements. It has also directed the ministry to complete all necessary legal requirements for the proceedings within two days.
In the last hearing, ECP Sindh member Nasir Durrani had informed Khan’s counsel Shoaib Shaheen that the Interior Ministry had submitted a reporting stating the former PTI chief could not be presented before the commission, and had proposed it send a team to jail to indict him. Shaheen had urged the ECP to put off the case, arguing a jail trial of a political leader would send a “wrong” message.
The ECP order does not mention former PTI leader Asad Umar, who is also charged with contempt and had appeared before the electoral body in the last hearing.
The contempt proceedings against Khan, Fawad and Umar were initiated last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and the electoral watchdog during various public speeches. All three had subsequently challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts, maintaining Section 10 of the Elections Act, 2017 was against the Constitution. All three had also sought a declaratory relief from the charges.
However, in January, the Supreme Court allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against the trio, with the ECP on June 21 announcing it would frame charges against them. The matter has been pending before the ECP since that date.