Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday maintained its stay order against the proceedings of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for his alleged violation of the election code of conduct during by-elections.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing in this matter and besides maintaining it restraining orders to the ECP not to proceed against Khan, it also issued the notices to the ECP.

The IHC bench issued aforementioned directions after Babar Awan the counsel for petitioner informed the court that the respondents have not submitted their replies in this matter yet. Later, the court deferred the hearing till July 4 for further proceedings in this matter.

Khan moved the petition through his counsel Babar Awan Advocate and challenged ECP notifications regarding restrictions on political party heads, MNAs, MPAs to participate in the election campaign for by-elections and consequential proceeding against him for the violation of the said notifications.

Khan nominated ECP through its chairman and Director General (Elections) of ECP as respondents in his petition.

The PTI chairman stated that being head of a political party, he addresses various campaigns for by-elections throughout the country and it is his right guaranteed under Article 16 of the Constitution of Pakistan regarding peaceful assembly.

He adopted that under the constitution, no restriction could be imposed on any person except under the law and if restrictions were imposed those were just to maintain public order.

PTI chief’s counsel added that this restriction is only Khan specific as the treasury benches through announcement of development project could campaign for the same. ECP notifications were violation of the fundamental rights and articles 15, 16, 17 and 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Khan told the court that he and his party have a commendable record of holding peaceful and unarmed rallies, sit-in for an unprecedented period of 126 days, which proves the fact that the petitioner and his party, PTI, believe in supremacy of law, Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 and public order.

He said that to the surprise of the petitioner, ECP on April 16, 2015 issued notifications whereby initially restrictions were imposed on president, prime minister, chief ministers, state ministers, governors and advisers to visit any area of any constituency or give any subscription or donation in such constituencies.

Later, he added that MNAs and MPAs were also included in this notification. He continued that the said notifications were challenged before a high court which declared these notifications as null and void.

Then, the ECP filed appeals before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the apex court in September 2015 passed an interim order through which operation of the high court judgment was suspended and therefore the ECP notifications were revived.

Khan said that ECP on February 6, 2017 issued notices to the present petitioner for visiting different constituencies in the province of Punjab. He contended that these notices were wholly illegal, mala-fide and without lawful authority.

He argued that the petitioner is an aggrieved party because being head of a political party he could not even visit constituencies during the campaign for by-elections.

The petitioner maintained that for all practical purposes and intent, it is the opposition which is put at disadvantage and these notifications are for the advantage of treasury benches.

Therefore, PTI chairman prayed to the court to declare the said notifications and proceedings pending against the petitioner at ECP as null and void, and illegal.