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LHC suspends ECP arrest warrants for Imran Khan, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry

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  • Court directs ECP to carry on with contempt proceedings.
  • Warns Fawad of action if he targets judiciary once again.
  • Warrants were issued after PTI leaders skipped hearings.

RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench on Monday suspended PTI chief Imran Khan, senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry and party secretary general Asad Umar’s bailable arrest warrants issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The warrants were suspended by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan hearing the PTI leaders’ plea against the arrest warrants. The warrants were issued by ECP’s four-member bench, last week, and were challenged by the PTI leaders today.

Even though the court suspended the warrants, it directed the ECP to carry on with its contempt proceedings against the PTI leaders.

During the hearing, the court remarked “PTI seeks relief from the judiciary but targets them in the media”.

“Targeting the judiciary in the media is contempt of court. If Fawad Chaudhry targets the courts in the media again the contempt of court proceedings will be launched,” warned the court. 

Justice Khan remarked that Fawad during an interview with an international channel laid the blame for corruption on the media. He also told the PTI leader’s lawyer that the court was granting him relief right now but he should tell his client not to lay all the blame on the courts. 

“Enough is enough, the court will no longer show restraint,” remarked Justice Khan. 

Fawad to challenge warrants

Last week, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, immediately after the ECP’s decision, announced he would challenge the warrants in the high court and file a contempt plea against ECP.

“ECP’s decision to issue arrest warrants in contempt of the high court’s decision,” said Fawad. He said that the case was scheduled for January 17 and the verdict was announced today (January 16) in violation of the rules.

The PTI leader alleged that it was a “biased” decision of the ECP.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had also allowed the electoral body to proceed with contempt proceedings against Khan, Umar, and Fawad.

All three PTI leaders did not appear in the last hearing of the case. 

PIT lawyer Ali Bukhari said that Fawad’s mother was seriously ill and he was with her in a hospital in Lahore, while Imran Khan’s doctors had advised him against travelling.

Asad Umar’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor said the PTI secretary general was to attend the hearing but he could not make it to the federal capital. 

Imran, Fawad and Umar were issued contempt notices by the ECP, in August last year, for insulting the commission and its chief, Sikander Sultan Raja, in various public meetings, press conferences and interviews.

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On April 16, President Zardari will speak to the joint session of parliament.

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As to the press statement from the President’s House, the joint session of parliament is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 16, at 1600 hours.

In accordance with Article 56(3) of the Constitution, which states that the President “shall address both Houses assembled together and inform the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of the causes of its summons” at the beginning of the first session following each general election to the National Assembly and at the beginning of the first session of each year,” he would address the joint session.

By virtue of the authority granted by Articles 54 (1) and 56 (3) of the Constitution, President Zardari called a joint session of the legislature.

It is important to note that National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq chaired the previous joint session of Parliament, which was called on March 9th in preparation for the presidential elections.

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Elections

The PPP seeks assistance from political parties in the election of the Senate chairman.

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The PPP special committee members have contacted other political parties in an attempt to get votes for Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, the party’s nominee for the Senate majority.

In order to create a plan for the chairman’s election, Senator Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar reached out to former PM Gillani.
According to Sherry Rehman, Yousaf Raza Gillani has a resounding majority in the Senate, and the PPP, together with its allies, will demonstrate its dominance in the chamber tomorrow (Tuesday).

It should be noted that tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., President Asif Ali Zardari will convene the Senate.

In addition to the newly elected senators taking an oath during the Senate session, the election of the chairman and deputy chairman will also take place on the same day.

On Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recommendation, the president had previously signed a summary designating Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar as the presiding officer of the senate session.

37 candidates who were selected to fill Senate seats in the most recent election were notified by the election commission.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s eleven Senate seats are still up for election.

Analysts stated that the election of the Senate’s chairman and deputy chairman would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process because there are just 11 lawmakers holding KP seats.

There is currently no election calendar for the 11 open KP Senate seats.

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Elections

Core Committee: PTI to abstain from Senate Chairman and Dy Chairman elections

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It has also been determined by the party to file a legal challenge against the election of the Senate’s chairman and deputy chairman.

According to PTI core committee sources, the election was unlawful because the home was not completed. According to insiders, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s election was unconstitutional because senators were not elected.”

In the absence of the chairman, PTI sources claimed, “the house has been dysfunctional.” Except in administrative matters, the Senate Secretariat was unable to make decisions.

The sources stated that under pressure, “the Secretary Senate could not himself interpret the constitution.”

“Without the Senate Chairman, the upper chamber has merely functioned as a department,” the sources stated, calling for constitutional violations against individuals responsible for the dysfunction of the Senate.

Sources continued, “It is the first time the Senate has been rendered inoperative in the nation’s democratic history.”

A petition was previously submitted with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which is supported by the Pakistan Terrorists (PTI), asking for a postponement of the Senate chairman and deputy chairman elections due to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s lack of Senate elections.

In the case where the petitioner asked the ECP to call an early election for the province’s 11 Senate seats, attorney Hamid Khan filed the plea on the SIC’s behalf.

Postponing the April 9 Senate chairman and deputy chairman election is recommended by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed SIC, which claims that the Electoral College will be incomplete without the KP Senate poll.

Recall that the opposition members’ application led to the provincial election commissioner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa postponing the Senate elections on April 2.

Because the disagreement over the oath-taking of the opposition members elected to reserved seats in the KP Assembly has not been settled, the opposition members had moved the ECP.

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