The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has temporarily suspended the arrest warrants for PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the contempt case and asked him to appear before the commission on August 2 to face indictment, it emerged on Saturday.

In a written order of its July 25 hearing, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the ECP said it was suspending the arrest warrants previously issued for the former premier. The decision was taken in light of his appearance before the electoral watchdog in relation to the case.

Imran had on July 25 appeared before the election watchdog for the first time since August last year when the case was initiated.

A day before his appearance, the ECP had ordered Islamabad police to arrest Imran and pre­sent him before the elect­ion watchdog.

The ECP had initiated contempt proceedings against the PTI chief, party leader Asad Umar and former information minister Chaudhry last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.

However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the three had challenged the ECP notices and contempt proceedings in various high courts on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which is the statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution. The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.

But in January, the Supreme Court had allowed the ECP to continue proceedings against Imran, Chaudhry and Umar, and on June 21, the ECP had decided to frame charges against the trio.

In the July 11 hearing, they did not appear before the commission despite being summoned, following which the ECP issued arrest warrants for Chau­dhry and Imran. It had, however, accepted a plea by Umar’s lawyer to allow him an exemption from the hearing.

In a written order issued on Friday, the ECP granted Imran’s counsel’s request to obtain the case record from the relevant department. The order also stated that the respondent must now appear on the scheduled date.

It further said the matter had now been adjourned until Aug 2 for “framing of charges”.

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