• IHC adjourns hearing on PTI chief’s plea at ECP request
• Bushra Bibi meets husband at Attock jail

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday restrained the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from issuing a final decision on contempt proceedings against former prime minister Imran Khan, while an Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench adjourned the hearing of Mr Khan’s early release request in the Toshakhana case conviction until Thursday (tomorrow), as the ECP sought time to peruse the record.

LHC Justice Waheed Khan passed the injunctive order on a petition filed by the incarcerated PTI chairman and referred it to the chief justice with a suggestion to constitute a larger bench to further hear and decide the matter.

The petition challenged the ECP’s June 20 order regarding the indictment of the PTI chairman in contempt proceedings initiated under Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017. It also assailed the constitutional vires of Section 10 of the Act, which granted the chief election commissioner (CEC) the authority to punish any person for contempt of the ECP.

Advocate Sameer Khosa argued on behalf of the former PM, who has been jailed in the Toshakhana case, that the impugned order issued by the ECP incorrectly held that the CEC had the jurisdiction to issue a show-cause notice and proceed in the matter. He argued that the CEC had no such authority and had wrongly assumed jurisdiction.

Advocate Khosa asked the court to declare that sections 10 and 4(2) of the Elections Act 2017 and Rule 4 of the Election Rules 2017 contra­dicted the Constit­ution and were liable to be struck down.

Following the arguments, the judge restrained the ECP from finalising its proceedings against the petitioner and directed it to file a reply by the next hearing.

Early release

The ECP has sought time to peruse the record of the PTI chairman’s Toshakhana case conviction as the IHC was examining his request for early release.

The IHC division bench, comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, resumed hearing on Mr Khan’s appeal against his conviction and suspension of sentence on Tuesday. Sardar Latif Khosa argued the trial court conducted day-to-day hearings and curtailed the right of defence for Mr Khan.

Mr Khosa opposed the two-week adjournment and requested the court to decide the application on the same day.

ECP’s counsel Amjad Per­vaiz argued that, unlike routine cases, Mr Khan’s appeal is being expedited. He requested the court to adjourn the hearing for two weeks, as he needs time to review the certified copies of records of the trial court. The bench adjourned the further hearing till Thursday (tomorrow).

Separately, Bushra Bibi met her husband for the third time at Attock jail on Tuesday, while Mr Khan’s legal team was once again denied access to their client.

Bushra Bibi and the PTI chairman’s lawyers were reportedly stopped by the police for some time. Later, after approval from jail authorities, only the former first lady was allowed to enter the jail. Sources said that the one-on-one meeting between the two lasted for about an hour.

Amjad Iqbal from Taxila also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...