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ECP issues bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry in a case pertaining to “contemptuous” remarks against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

A four-member bench — comprising ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hasan Bharwana, and Justice (retd) Ikram Ullah Khan — issued the order following the non-appearance of the leaders in the case proceedings.

“Consequently, in the circumstances of the case, we have left with no alternative except to issue a bailable warrant of arrest against respondent in the sum of Rs50,000/- (fifty thousand) with two sureties in the like amount each,” the verdict issued by the ECP read.

It further mentioned that the bailable warrants shall be executed through the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad; directing the office to take follow-up action forthwith and list the matter on March 14.

Last year, the top electoral body initiated contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders for allegedly using foul language against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECP. It has served several notices on them, asking them to appear in person and explain their point of view.

However, the PTI leaders did not appear before the ECP and later challenged its powers to initiate contempt proceedings under Section 10 of the Election Act 2017 in different high courts. 

Section 10 of the election act states that the “election commission may exercise the same power as the high court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly[…]”

Later, the ECP filed a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking consolidation of all six petitions before one high court. In its decision, the top court said the ECP had been allowed to continue proceedings under Section 10 against the PTI leaders, but it barred the electoral body from giving final orders.

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The IHC upholds Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail.

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Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail was granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

The former first lady Bushra Bibi’s application to be transferred from Bani Gala sub-jail to Adiala was heard today.

Details reveal that the Islamabad High Court heard a motion to restore the denied petition about the relocation of Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder, from sub-jail Bani Gala to Adiala.

The application for the reinstatement of appeal was heard by Justice Miagul Hassan Aurangzeb. When state attorney Abdul Rehman entered the courtroom on behalf of the state, Usman Riaz Gill represented the former first lady.

State counsel did not object to the appeal being restored during court proceedings. At the following hearing, the court asked for assistance in determining what conditions must be met for a location to be designated as a sub-jail.

The court also mandated that Bushra Bibi’s medical examination be scheduled. The court subsequently delayed the hearing and gave instructions to fix the appeal for April 22.

Recall that the attorneys for former first lady Bushra Bibi, Barrister Salman Safdar, Usman Riaz Gill, and Khalid Yusuf Chaudhary, had filed an application to restore the dismissed appeal a day ago, but the Islamabad High Court had denied their request to pursue the case.

The petition contended that the traffic gridlock at the Sarina Chowk checkpoint was the reason for the delay in getting to the court.

The attorneys did not purposefully take their time getting to court. They warned that the petitioner would suffer irreversible loss if the petition was not resurrected.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb has voiced his displeasure at the absence of attorneys from the court.

According to Judge Aurangzeb, the former first lady would have been imprisoned if Bushra Bibi’s attorneys had prevailed in this case. The attorneys themselves were opposed to Bushra Bibi’s incarceration.

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oath-taking ceremony for the Balochistan cabinet postponed

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The Balochistan cabinet’s oath-taking ceremony, which was supposed to take place at the Governor’s House today (Thursday), has been rescheduled.
The Governor’s House spokeswoman announced that the Balochistan cabinet’s swearing-in event has been postponed. Nevertheless, there was no explanation provided for the ceremony’s postponement.

It is important to note that the 14-member Balochistan cabinet, which consists of two members from the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and six ministers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was set to take the oath of office today, Thursday.

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Senior PML-N leaders want the X ban lifted.

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A veteran party leader and former railways minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique, claimed the caretaker government’s social media ban didn’t help anyone.

Saad Rafique warned his party’s present government to avoid becoming a laughing stock since politics requires political moves.

“Bans and prohibitions come where dictatorship prevails over democracy,” PML-N veteran Javed Abbasi remarked of the social media ban.

“Can we ban matches factories fearing they ignite fire?” he asked. He said, “We scare of truth and try to keep it under the veil.”

He called the PML-N administration cruel for banning free speech.

The Interior Ministry said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday that X, formerly Twitter, needed to be banned since it violated Pakistani legislation.

Interior Secretary Khurram Agha reported on the high court’s rulings on the social media ban petition for the ministry.

Social networking site X was down for two months in Pakistan when the hearing took place.

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