Pakistan’s election commission has issued a bailable arrest warrant against cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for repeatedly failing to appear before it in a contempt case. The Election Commission of Pakistan was hearing a case against 64-year-old Khan filed by a dissident from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and one of the founding members Akbar S Babar. The ECP ordered the party chief to appear before the court on September 25.
The counsel for Khan, Babar Awan, argued that the party chief was abroad and had returned to the country just an hour ago.
On this, the counsel for the petitioner argued that the ECP’s orders have been violated. “Had he (Imran Khan) respected the institutions, he would have been present here,” said the counsel, asking the commission to continue with the regular proceeding. Following this, the ECP reserved its judgement in the contempt case and issued bailable arrest warrants against Khan, and ordered him to appear before the court on September 25.
The ECP in its order said that Khan should submit surety bond of Rs 100,000 until September 25 to avoid arrest and also appear on September 25 for hearing in person. Last month, the ECP had issued a second show-cause notice to Khan after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Khan had initially challenged maintainability of the contempt petition and raised objections over ECP’s jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him; the commission, however, declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case. It had then issued a formal show-cause notice to him, asking him to submit a reply by August 23. Khan had accused the ECP of being biased in the foreign funding case following which his counsel had tendered an apology with the commission.