Three accused in contempt case could not be indicted

PTI chief

ISLAMABAD: The anticipated indictment of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, along with former party leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry, in the case of contempt of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) faced a delay today.

ECP had previously issued notices outlining the indictment proceedings and had summoned the three accused to appear in person. However, during Monday’s hearing, held by a four-member bench led by ECP member Nisar Durrani, none of the suspects attended.

PTI chief’s lawyer also failed to appear and instead requested an adjournment. A written report explaining the absence of PTI chairman was submitted to the court by Interior Secretary Aftab Durrani.

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In response to the non-appearance, the commission member suggested holding the hearing in jail if there were security concerns. The interior secretary affirmed that the ministry permitted courts to conduct hearings in prisons, emphasising the election commission’s status as a constitutional body with its own rules.

The commission member questioned whether the law allowed hearings in jails, prompting the interior secretary to request time to consult the ministry for an opinion.

It was revealed during the hearing that Fawad Chaudhry was incarcerated in Adiala Jail. The ECP announced its intention to issue an order on this matter.

As for Asad Umar, no representative appeared on his behalf before the election commission. His lawyer sought an adjournment, as conveyed by the deputy director of law to the commission.

PTI’s counsel Shoaib Shaheen informed the commission that he was allowed only one meeting with the party chairman in jail and requested the issuance of an appropriate order for further consultations with his client.

In a proactive suggestion, Nisar Durrani proposed that the commission itself could visit the jail for a hearing.

The ECP adjourned the hearing of the case until December 6.

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