The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to temporarily suspend the arrest warrants issued for PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the contempt case. The ECP has requested him to appear before the commission on August 2 to face indictment, as revealed on Saturday.
In its written order from the July 25 hearing, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the ECP stated that it was halting the previously issued arrest warrants for the former prime minister. This decision was made considering his recent appearance before the electoral watchdog in connection with the case.
Imran Khan appeared before the election watchdog on July 25 for the first time since the case was initiated back in August last year.
A day before his appearance, the ECP had ordered the Islamabad police to arrest Imran and present him before the election watchdog.
The contempt proceedings were initiated against Imran Khan, PTI leader Asad Umar, and former information minister Chaudhry last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.
However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the three individuals challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts, arguing that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which grants the commission the power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution. They also sought declaratory relief from the charges in the high courts.
In January, the Supreme Court allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against Imran, Chaudhry, and Umar. Subsequently, on June 21, the ECP decided to frame charges against the trio.
During the July 11 hearing, Chaudhry and Imran did not appear before the commission despite being summoned. As a result, the ECP issued arrest warrants for them, although it accepted a plea from Umar’s lawyer to excuse him from the hearing.
In a written order issued on Friday, the ECP granted Imran’s counsel’s request to obtain the case record from the relevant department. The order also stated that the respondent must now appear on the scheduled date.
Furthermore, the matter has been adjourned until August 2 for “framing of charges.”