The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday decided to defer the indictment of former Prime Minister Imran Khan till August 2 in connection with a case of contempt against the electoral watchdog and the chief election commissioner initiated last year.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman made his first appearance before the ECP during today's hearing as a four-member bench headed by member Nisar Durrani heard the case, Dawn reported.
Imran's counsel requested the electoral watchdog to defer the hearing as he needed more time to gather the case record. The ECP, in response, said, "It is your responsibility to manage the file and case record."
The former Pakistan PM remained resolute in refusing to apologise to the commission for the allegations levelled against him. "Do you think I should apologise? Why should I tender an apology when I did not make any mistake?" he told reporters after the hearing.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court reserved its decision on the admissibility of the three pleas filed by the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case. Imran is accused of deliberately concealing details of the gifts he received from the Toshaskhana, a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept, during his time as the PM.
Imran Khan's arrest ordered by the ECP
On Monday, the ECP had asked the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICT) to carry out its obligation to comply with a non-bailable arrest warrant issued for Imran Khan in a case relating to contempt of the electoral body on May 11. The ECP, in the warrant, authorised and required the Islamabad Inspector General to arrest Imran and produce him before the commission on July 25 at 10 a.m.
Apart from the PTI chief, the contempt proceedings also involved against party leader Asad Umar and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the ECP.
While passing the order, the commission, on multiple occasions, asked him and his ministers to appear in person or directed his counsels to explain his position. However, instead of following the orders, Khan and his two ministers had challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which is the statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution.
In January, the apex court had allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against the trio. Later, on June 21, the ECP had decided to frame charges against Imran, Fawad and Umar in July. At the July 11 hearing, none of the three appeared before the commission despite being summoned, following which the ECP had issued arrest warrants for Fawad and Imran.