The high courts of Sindh and Punjab on Tuesday restrained the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from taking action against senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry over alleged contempt of the polls supervisor.
The two PTI leaders had moved the Sindh High Court (SHC) and the Lahore High Court (LHC) after the ECP issued them contempt notices along with PTI Chairman Imran Khan for levelling allegations against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja and summoned them on Wednesday (today).
Chaudhry moved the LHC Rawalpindi bench against the ECP notice. His plea was heard by Justice Jawad Hassan. Chaudhry’s counsel Advocate Faisal Farid argued that the ECP was not a court, therefore, as per the Constitution it was not protected by the “contempt of court provisions”.
Subsequently, the court issued a notice seeking a response from the electoral body on September 7 while restraining it from issuing a final order on the matter. The SHC order came on a petition filed by PTI Secretary General Asad Umar.
Meanwhile, during hearing of the contempt case by a four-member ECP bench, headed by Member Sindh Nisar Durrani, the lawyers of the PTI leaders were directed to submit the certified copy of the orders of the SHC and the LHC.
The PTI lawyers also sought time for filing replies to the ECP notices. However, sitting on the bench, ECP Member Balochistan Shah Mohammad Jatoi asked whether there was any provision in the contempt law to give time for replies.
PTI’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry replied that a transparent trial was the legal right of every person, adding that giving time to submit the reply was a requirement of a transparent trial. The ECP postponed the hearing of the case till September 7.
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