ECP gets top court’s nod to resume contempt proceedings against Imran Khan

Maryam Nawaz
(Left to right) Combo photo shows PTI leaders Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry. — AFP/PID/File
(Left to right) Combo photo shows PTI leaders Imran Khan, Asad Umar, and Fawad Chaudhry. — AFP/PID/File     

  • ECP also allowed to carry out proceedings against Fawad, Umar.
  • Law's Implementation can't be halted even if it is challenged, SC says.   
  • PTI leaders obtained stay orders from Sindh, Lahore high courts.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to continue its contempt proceedings against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his aides — Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar.

The commission had moved the top court challenging the interim orders passed by the Lahore High court and the Sindh High Court respectively, restraining the electoral watchdog from passing a final order in connection with a contempt case.

After hearing arguments from all the parties, a three-member bench of the SC — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Ayesha A Malik — allowed the electoral body to continue with its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.

“In view of the foregoing legal position, the proceedings before the ECP under Section 10 of the Act may continue without restraint,” read the SC’s order.

“We hold that the petitioner [ECP] may continue its proceedings in accordance with law including, by decisions on the objections raised on behalf of the respondents,” it added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI had challenged the clause giving the ECP authority to take action.

The bench stated that the implementation of existing law cannot be halted even if it is challenged in court.   

"The operation of a statutory provision must not be interrupted by a court of law through an injunctive order in proceedings challenging the vires of such statutory provision," read the order.

ECP summons Imran Khan on Jan 17 

A four-member bench of the ECP headed by Nisar Durrani summoned the PTI chairman, Umar, and Chaudhry on January 17 in the cases relating to the contempt of the electoral body.

At the outset of today’s hearing, none of the three appeared before the four-member ECP bench.

During the proceedings, Ali Bukhari, the counsel of Khan and Chaudhry, told the bench that Chaudhry’s mother is hospitalised, hence, he could not appear before the bench.

He also submitted Khan’s medical certificate and said that his client was not allowed to travel by the doctors.

The ECP member directed the lawyer to submit his clients’ application for exemption from appearing in bench.

Anwar Mansoor, the counsel of Umar, apprised the ECP that his client intended to appear before the bench but he could not reach, adding that he has filed an application against the show-cause notice served to his client.

At this, the ECP warned him that the body would issue warrants for his client if he does not appear before the body on the next hearing.

Meanwhile, the ECP adjourned the hearing till January 17.