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ECP reserves judgment on Imran's objection to its jurisdiction

Updated July 25, 2017

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its judgement in reference to the reply filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan challenging the commission's power to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him.

A five-member tribunal of the ECP, chaired by the chief election commissioner, has been hearing a petition filed by Akbar S Babar, seeking Khan's disqualification.

The ECP will announce its decision on August 10 in reference to the objections that were raised by the PTI chief in the previous hearing, where Khan argued that the right to initiate contempt of court proceedings against an individual lies only with the Supreme Court and the High Courts, not the ECP.

During Tuesday's proceedings, Khan's counsel Babar Awan argued before the tribunal that contempt of court proceedings could not be initiated against his client as the jurisdiction to do so does not lie with the ECP.

"If the ECP is equal to a high court, will a full-bench conduct proceedings every day?" Awan asked, arguing that the Constitution gives the ECP a different status from that enjoyed by the high courts.

"If a full bench of the ECP gives a verdict, where will I file my appeal?" asked the counsel.

During the hearing, the petitioner's lawyer requested the ECP to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Khan by issuing a show-cause notice to him.

The commission reserved its verdict to be announced on August 10. If the commission overrules Khan's objections, the tribunal will continue to hear the petition filed by Awan. However, if the objections are accepted, the case will be dismissed.