In a major development, the Supreme Court (SC) allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to go ahead with the contempt proceedings against former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and senior party leaders including Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar.
According to the details, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ayesha A Malik and Justice Athar Minallah heard the ECP’s petition seeking transfer and consolidation of cases filed by the PTI with different high courts challenging its contempt notices.
During today’s proceedings, the SC asked ECP to continue contempt proceedings against PTI chief Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, and Asad Umar.
“ECP should decide on objections raised by PTI according to law. Sindh and Lahore High Courts did not stop ECP from contempt proceedings against Imran and others,” the SC said.
ECP’s contempt case against PTI
The ECP had during August and September last year issued contempt notices, in the exercise of its powers of contempt, against PTI chief Imran Khan and party leaders Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Mian Shabbir Ismail, and Danial Khalid Khokhar for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and ECP and asked them to appear in person or through their counsels before the commission to explain their position.
However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the PTI leaders challenged in various high courts the ECP notices and contempt proceedings on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which is the statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution. The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.
Read more: Why is Imran Khan challenging the ECP?
Later, a petition was moved through Advocate Sajeel Sheryar Swati on behalf of the ECP with a request to order consolidation of all six petitions before one high court instead of defending the commission’s stance over the issuance of contempt notices against PTI leaders in different high courts.