ECP bench again defers indictment of PTI chief in contempt case

Commission adjourns contempt case hearing until December 6

ISLAMABAD  -  The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has adjourned the hearing of a case linked to contempt of the commission until December 6.

Nisar Durrani, an ECP member, chaired a four-member bench that resumed the hearing of a case, where Chairman PTI Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry face accusations of contempt of the Chief Election Commissioner and the commission. The bench again deferred the indictment of PTI chairman in the contempt until next hearing.

Faisal Chaudhry, representing Fawad Chaudhry, and Shoaib Shaheen, counsel for Chairman PTI Asad Umer, appeared before the bench. PTI counsel Shoaib Shaheen stated that they haven’t received copies of the election commission’s orders pertaining to PTI chairman. A member of the ECP said the Law Ministry has cited security concerns, stating that the PTI chairman cannot be brought before the commission.

Shoaib Shaheen expressed his desire to present arguments, stressing the importance of transparency by making the report public. Alternatively, if public disclosure isn’t possible, he requested the commission to share the report with the accused’s counsel, especially as it is being used against PTI. In the event of a jail trial, he insisted that the entire proceedings should be conducted within the prison. Despite submitting an application, they are yet to receive a copy.

A commission member mentioned that over a year has passed, and charges can be framed at any time. The critical matter revolves around framing charges for the case. Shoaib Shaheen highlighted that the PTI chairman was the leader of the largest political party in the country. An ECP member stated that the proceedings of the case must be conducted without taking into account the identity or status of the accused.

Shoaib Shaheen requested the bench to dismiss the case. A member stated that over a year has elapsed since the initiation of the case, and there should be a formal procedure for dismissing it. Fawad Chaudhry’s lawyer requested the commission to issue production order for his client. He said there was no security issue for his client.

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