The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a contempt case. The warrant directs the Islamabad Police chief to arrest him and produce him before the bench at 10 am on Tuesday. However, the Supreme Court has restrained the police from arresting Imran Khan until August 9 in the Balochistan lawyer murder case.
The contempt case against Imran Khan and two other senior PTI leaders, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry, was initiated last year after they allegedly used intemperate and contemptuous language against the Election Commission and the Chief Election Commissioner. They were asked to appear before the commission to clarify their stance or through their counsel, but they challenged the commission’s jurisdiction, claiming that a statutory provision (Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017) regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt is against the Constitution.
The Supreme Court allowed the commission to continue proceedings against Imran, Fawad, and Asad Umar earlier this year. On July 11, the ECP issued arrest warrants for Fawad and Imran after they failed to appear for a hearing, while Asad Umar’s lawyer requested an exemption.
In another case related to the murder of a lawyer, Abdul Razzak Shar, the Supreme Court restrained the police from arresting Imran Khan until August 9. The court heard an appeal by Imran Khan against the Balochistan High Court’s verdict, which dismissed his plea to quash the FIR against him in the lawyer’s murder case. The court rejected the Balochistan government’s plea to summon Khan before the Joint Investigation Team probing the murder and adjourned the hearing until August 9, directing Imran Khan to ensure his appearance.
During the hearing, Imran Khan appeared in person with his counsel. The case involves accusations that Imran Khan dissolved the National Assembly, and the murdered lawyer had filed a petition seeking a treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution against him.
The court was presented with statements from the Investigation Officer, stating that Imran Khan and his party workers were accused of killing the lawyer. The JIT carried out various investigative measures, including recording statements and obtaining CCTV footage and phone call records.
As the investigation continues, the case remains ongoing, and Imran Khan’s appearance before the court is expected on the next hearing date.