Pakistan Election Commission issues non-bailable arrest warrant against Imran Khan

The ECP had initiated contempt proceedings against Imran Khan and former PTI party leaders Chaudhry and Asad Umar for allegedly using 'intemperate' language against CEC head.
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top election body on Tuesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former prime minister Imran Khan in a case of contempt.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry for the same offence.

The ECP had initiated contempt proceedings last year against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Khan and former party leaders Chaudhry and Asad Umar for allegedly using 'intemperate' language against the electoral watchdog and its head, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

The arrest warrant order against Khan and Chaudhry was passed by a four-member ECP bench headed by member Nisar Durrani after the two PTI leaders failed to appear before it on Tuesday despite several warnings.

However, Umar was spared after his counsel told the ECP that his client had another case to attend and a medical appointment, requesting an exemption from appearance.

The election commission accepted the request and directed the lawyer to submit a formal plea in this regard but it issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Khan and Chaudhry and adjourned the hearing till July 25.

The ECP had asked the PTI leaders to appear in person or through their counsels to explain their position but instead, they challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in higher courts.

After lengthy proceedings, the Supreme Court in January allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against Khan, Chaudhry and Umar. Subsequently, the ECP decided to frame charges against them.

Khan, 70, has been facing scores of cases in various courts after he was removed from power in April last year. Chaudhry, once a diehard supporter of Khan, quit PTI over the May 9 violence carried out by the party supporters.

Violent protests sparked across the country on May 9 after PTI chief Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court.

The government later launched a massive crackdown against the PTI leaders and workers and rounded up thousands of people on charges of attacking civil and military installations.

Khan's supporters vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander's House, the Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad in response to Khan's arrest.

The mob also stormed the Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.

Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10 while Khan's party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.

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The New Indian Express