The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday suspended the non-bailable arrest warrants issued against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PT) Chairman Imran Khan by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on contempt charges.
On Oct 12, the ECP had issued the warrants against Khan following his continuous failure to appear before the commission on the show-cause notice issued on Aug 24 over his “defaming and scandalising” the ECP in the foreign-funding case.
On Oct 18, Khan’s counsel, Babar Awan, had filed a petition in the IHC stating that the ECP has no authority to issue non-bailable arrest warrants against the PTI chief.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Awan argued before a larger bench of the high court that the ECP does not have the jurisdiction to hear contempt of court cases and asked that the commission’s proceedings against his client be suspended, along with the arrest warrants.
Although the court suspended Khan’s arrest warrants, it dismissed Awan’s request to halt the ECP’s proceedings against his client.
“Are politicians above the law?” the lawyer representing the ECP said, adding that Khan was expected to appear before the commission on Oct 26 (Thursday) for a hearing regarding the contempt of court case.
The lawyer representing Akbar S. Babar, a PTI dissident and one of the party’s founding members who had filed the case against Khan in the ECP, said that it should be made clear whether Khan intends to fight his case in the ECP or proceed with the case in the IHC.
Suspending the arrest warrants, the IHC issued notices to parties involved in the case to appear before the court for a hearing regarding the ECP’s jurisdiction on Nov 7.
The hearing was adjourned until that date.