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LHC suspends arrest warrant for Imran, others

RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended the arrest warrants issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Secretary General Asad Umar, and Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry for failing to appear in court for contempt proceedings on Monday.

The electoral panel issued bailable arrest warrants for the PTI leaders last week for failing to appear in contempt proceedings before the commission.

The ECP denied the pleas for exemption from attendance, and all three parties were asked to post Rs50,000 bonds each. The PTI, on the other hand, has filed an appeal against the arrest warrants.

On Monday, Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan heard the case before the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench. Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry were represented in court by advocate Faisal Chaudhry.

During the hearing, the PTI counsel argued that because the ECP was not a constitutional court, it could not issue arrest warrants. He assured the court that his clients had appeared before the ECP during its proceedings and will continue to do so.

As a result, the court suspended Imran and Fawad Chaudhry’s arrest warrants in the ECP contempt case. The judge did, however, allow the ECP to continue its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.

“PTI wants judicial redress yet attacks them in the media,” the court observed during the hearing.
It stated that criticizing the judiciary in the media constituted contempt of court and warned that if Fawad Chaudhry did so again, contempt of court procedures would be initiated.

Justice Khan informed the PTI leader’s counsel that while the court granted him relief this time, his client should not blame the courts. “Enough is enough; the court will no longer exercise restraint,” Justice Khan said.

It should be noted that immediately following the ECP’s ruling last week, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that he will fight the warrants in the high court and file a contempt case against the ECP.

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