ECP issues arrest warrants against Imran, others.

ISLAMABAD -- In a surprise move, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and two other party leaders over their failure to appear before it in a contempt case.

The commission at the last hearing had set Jan 17 as the next date of hearing but the cause list was amended overnight to re-fix the case for Tuesday. A four-member bench of the ECP then issued arrest warrants against Mr Khan, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry.

While sharply reacting to the ECP move, the PTI decided to file a contempt petition against it before the Islamabad High Court.

The apex court had earlier allowed the ECP to continue contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.

PTI to move court against commission; Fawad terms it 'another biased decision'

Headed by member from Sindh Nisar Ahmad Durrani, a four-member ECP bench issued five separate but almost identical orders - one against Asad Umar and two each against Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry over contempt of the ECP and Chief Election CommissAionAer Sikandar Sultan Raja.

'The long and short of above discussion is that respondent has neither appeared before this commission and nor has he filed his reply to the show-cause notice dated [Sept 13, 2022] as yet after lapse of sufficient time,' one of the orders stated.

'In such view of the matter, it appears that respondent namely Imran Khan is deliberately seeking adjournments on one or other pretext and also reluctant to appear before this commission which amounts to mockery on law. Such

conduct of respondent could not be tolerable, as his non-appearance before this Commission seems to be intentional,' it said.

'So far as the plea taken by proxy counsel for exemption of respondent for today is concerned, it is not clothed with any substantial evidence as he has not been able to provide a medical certificate of respondent in support thereof. Hence, in the circumstances of the case, we have left with no alternative except to issue bailable warrant of arrest against respondent in sum of Rs50,000 ... with two sureties in the like amount each,' it added.

Rejecting the plea for exemption from appearance, the bench issued bailable warrants of arrest to be executed through the Islamabad's inspector general of police. Directing the office to take follow-up action forthwith, the bench adjourned the proceedings till Jan 17.

The case...

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