ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Announcing its decision in contempt of court case against Imran Khan, the ECP ruled the PTI chairman should be produced before it on 26th of this month. Imran Khan has repeatedly failed to appear before the commission, so he should also file a written apology for his absence, the ECP further said.

The ECP ruled the PTI chairman be arrested and brought before it on the next hearing of the case filed by PTI dissident Akbar S Babar.

According to PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq, the party is set to challenge the warrants in the Islamabad High Court.

The ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza, decided to issue non-bailable warrants for Imran Khan.

Earlier on September 14, the ECP issued bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan following his failure to turn up for the contempt of court proceedings, which were later suspended by the IHC on the PTI’s petition.

“New warrants are issued in the same case. We will see whether this is contempt of the IHC’s full bench or not and will challenge it,” said PTI member and lawyer Babar Awan.

The ECP issued a second show-cause notice to Imran Khan after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.

Imran Khan had initially challenged maintainability of the contempt petition and raised objections over ECP’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him. However, the commission declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case.

The ECP issued a formal show-cause notice to the PTI chairman, asking him to submit a reply by Aug 23. The PTI chief’s counsel Babar Awan appeared before the five-member ECP bench and pleaded they wanted to challenge its judgment regarding the maintainability of the contempt petition and sought some time to do so.

Imran Khan had accused the ECP of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his counsel had tendered an apology.

Later, the PTI chairman, in a TV interview, said his counsel had tendered apology in his personal capacity and not on his behalf.

Imran Khan said if he gets disqualified he will abandon politics forever.

When asked about the issue of bail-proof warrant, Khan said that they (N League) want to get me disqualified either through the Supreme Court or the Election Commission. He said that even anti-terrorism courts are after him and if he gets disqualified, he will abandon politics altogether let alone be a party chairman.