Imran Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan submitted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supremo’s reply to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the contempt of court case on Monday. The election body, in its short order, said that it would review the reply on September 27 and then give its judgement.
The ECP was hearing a contempt of court petition against Imran Khan filed by party dissident and one of PTI’s founding members, Akbar S. Babar. The petition had argued that the PTI chief, in a reply to the commission in another case regarding party funding, used derogatory language which was tantamount to the contempt of court. Subsequently, Khan’s lawyer Saqlain Haider had submitted an unconditional apology.
However, the PTI chairman in a TV interview had reportedly said that his counsel tendered an apology in his personal capacity and that Khan himself had not apologised. On the basis of the interview, the ECP was once again moved to proceed against Khan.
In his written reply on Monday, Imran Khan said that his lawyer Saqlain Haider had submitted the apology on his behalf and that the PTI chief had not objected or opposed the apology. He argued that after the submission of the apology, the matter should have been settled.
“My counsel appeared as pleader/advocate with full authority to act on my behalf to set at rest the liss/contempt proceeding,” reads Khan’s written reply.
Awan also submitted the order of Islamabad High Court (IHC), suspending the arrest warrants for Khan issued by the ECP. He further argued that the IHC is going to hear a petition on the ECP’s powers in connection with contempt of court hearings.
Earlier in the day, the petitioner filed another application against Khan, arguing that the PTI chief recently once again criticised the ECP so another contempt of court proceedings should be launched against him. ECP directed Imran Khan to submit a reply to the application on September 27.
‘Will oppose Election Bill 2017 even if disqualified’
PTI chief Imran Khan has recently asserted said that he would not support the Election Bill 2017 or any such legislation even if he was disqualified under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
The bill gives complete administrative and financial powers to ECP, increases the election expenses limits for both National Assembly and provincial assemblies’ seats by 150 per cent and makes it mandatory for registration of any political party to have at least 1,000 members.
During an interview to Dunya News Saturday night, the PTI chief said that the bill was damaging morality and ethics in the country and legitimating thieves.
He, however, made it clear that he had not committed any wrongdoing or financial crime. Elaborating his viewpoint, he said that he has been accused of bringing funds to Pakistan, not of being involved in money laundering or tax evasion.