ECP issues non-bailable warrants for PTI chief, Fawad Chaudhry

pakistan tehreek e insaf pti leader asad umar and ex minister fawad chaudhary addressing a press conference on march 23 2023 photo file

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued non-bailable arrest warrants on Tuesday for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry for failing to appear before the commission in contempt proceedings.

The ECP had initiated contempt proceedings last year against the PTI chief and then party leaders Chaudhry and Asad Umar for repeatedly issuing statements against the electoral body and its chief election commissioner.

The PTI chief and Chaudhry remained absent from the hearing today while Umar was represented by his assistant lawyer Umaima Mansoor, who submitted a request to adjourn the hearing as Advocate Anwar Mansoor was on leave on medical grounds and Umar was also occupied with medical check-ups.

This irked the four-member ECP bench led by the commission’s Sindh member Nisar Durrani.

ECP member Akramullah Khan remarked that all hearings could not be adjourned in this manner. Umar’s legal representative replied that the former PTI general secretary and former federal minister had appeared before the ECP several times.

At this, Khan said that appearance before the commission is mandatory in a contempt case.

Umar’s lawyer filed an exemption plea on his behalf.

ECP Durrani remarked that the case would never be resolved in this manner.

Subsequently, the ECP issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the PTI chief and Chaudhry and adjourned the hearing till July 25.

The electoral watchdog further directed Umar, Chaudhry and the PTI chief to ensure their presence before it in a personal capacity.