ECP reserves verdict in contempt case against PTI leaders

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has reserved its verdict in the contempt case against PTI top leaders including its Chief Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar.

A four-member bench of the ECP headed by Nisar Durrani conducted the proceedings on Monday.

The PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry appeared before the commission. He contended that the ECP did not specify the violation purportedly committed by the PTI leaders in its notices.

The commission, however, said that it had specified the violation committed by the PTI leaders.

On this, the PTI lawyer alleged that the notice was not issued by the ECP adding that the ECP could not issue notices. He said the notice was very ambiguous.

On this, the ECP member asked him to first submit the PTI leaders’ replies on the notices then the commission would hear him out.

Faisal Ch, however, reminded the commission that the high court had already barred it from issuing the final order in the contempt proceedings.

The ECP member said that they were not issuing the final order.

The lawyer also raised objection to the ECP bench saying that ECP member Nisar Durrani was mentioned in the speech of PTI leaders and ‘a member who somehow relates to the case, cannot sit in the bench’.

During the hearing, the PTI lawyer submitted Fawad Ch and Asad Umar’s replies.

The commission said that it would announce its verdict after examining the replies and if Imran also submitted his reply today, it would proclaim its verdict today.

In his reply submitted to the commission, former information minister and PTI leader Fawad Ch said that Article 19 of the Constitution provides right of freedom of speech to every citizen. He contended that the ECP secretary could not issue a contempt notice. He said that the party had already challenged the ECP’s authority to send contempt notice in the higher court.

He said that the clause authorizing the ECP to issue contempt notice was illegal as the ECP was not a court.

Fawad pleaded with the commission to withdraw its contempt notice.