The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted the apologies of Imran Khan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Pervez Khattak in code of conduct violation case and asked them to refrain from using indecent language in future.

ECP’s four-member bench - headed by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza - announced the reserved verdicts in the cases against the political parties’ leaders for using offensive language during their election campaigns.

The commission dropped the charges against them after warning the leaders of not using foul language in the future.

Earlier, Counsel Kamran Murtaza, who was representing Ayaz Sadiq, submitted an apology on behalf of him. Before the bench reserved its verdict on the matter and a clip was also played of the PML-N leader allegedly using derogatory language against political opponents.

Pervez Khattak appeared before the ECP himself to face the charges. A video clip showing Khattak apologizing over his remarks was also played as the verdict was reserved.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, who was served a notice on terming those going to welcome PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif on his arrival from London as donkeys, had already submitted an apology last month.

Former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervez Khattak had tendered separate apologies to the ECP for using indecent language. Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief already submitted an apology with the ECP.

The commission had issued notices to them deploring the abusive, insolent and derogatory language used against other leaders that had been aired and published by the electronic and print media, besides doing rounds on social media.

While pointing out that this was a clear violation of the code of conduct issued by it, the ECP had asked the three political leaders to desist from using such language and summoned them to appear before it in person or through their counsel.

Babar Awan submitted a written reply on behalf of Imran Khan in violation of secrecy of ballot case by claiming that he had not deliberately shown his vote while casting the ballot in the July 25 general elections.

He argued in the statement that Imran Khan’s prior permission was not sought before showing him cast his vote. He said that the secrecy screen, behind which a voter is supposed to stamp the ballot, had fallen due to heavy crowd in the room.

He said that even Imran Khan had asked election officials where he should stand to stamp the ballot papers. The counsel urged the ECP to dismiss the case against Imran Khan and issue the notification of his victory from NA-53.

After initially reserving its verdict, the ECP bench rejected the written statement submitted by Babar Awan because it did not have Imran Khan’s signature on it. The commission directed the counsel to submit the signed reply the PTI chief. The hearing of the case was adjourned until Friday.