ISLAMABAD - A larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday suspended non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a contempt case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan.

The three-member larger bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the petition moved by the PTI challenging the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the ECP.

During the hearing, Imran’s counsel contended before the larger bench of the high court that the ECP did not have the jurisdiction to hear contempt of court cases, and asked that the commission’s proceedings against his client and the arrest warrants may be suspended.

However, the court suspended Khan’s arrest warrants but it rejected Babar Awan’s request to halt the ECP’s proceedings against his client.

After suspending the arrest warrants, the IHC larger bench issued notices to the respondents and deferred the hearing till November 7th for further proceedings.

Imran Khan has moved the petition through his counsel Babar Awan Advocate and cited chairman ECP and Akbar S Babar as respondents.

The counsel for the PTI stated in his petition that there was no occasion in which the ECP has the authority to issue non-bailable arrest warrants regarding which injunctive order was passed by this court.

He added that for the date that is October 12 the petitioner was neither required to appear nor summoned thus orders of arrest warrants of his client were tainted with malafide on facts and law.

The counsel continued that admittedly for all practical purposes and intents, this was a case of civil contempt wherein repeated harsh and uncalled for orders were being passed by the chairman ECP.

He maintained that it was a case of split order, which called for the interference of this court because the petitioner was being victimised at the instance of his political opponents. Babar contended that the arrest warrants issued by the ECP was against the law and the facts of the case.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan has no power to initiate proceedings under question in view of express provision of Article 204 of the Constitution,” adopted the counsel.

He argued that Imran Khan never obstructed administration of justice. Therefore, proceeding initiated by the ECP was liable to be dropped in the interest of justice.

The PTI chief’s counsel, in his petition prayed to the court that the arrest warrants issued on October 12 by the ECP against his client “be set aside and proceedings initiated [by the ECP] against the petitioner” may be declared “void, unlawful, without lawful authority, against the Constitution and law on the subject in the interest of justice.”




Shahid Rao