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Pakistan’s Election Commission issues arrest warrant for Imran Khan

Pakistan’s poll panel has issued a bailable arrest warrant for cricketer- turned-politician Imran Khan after he repeatedly failed to appear before it in a contempt case.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2017 20:57 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan Election Commission,Imran Khan,arrest warrant for Imran Khan
Pakistani opposition leader and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party Imran Khan leaves the Supreme Court after attending a hearing on the Panama Papers case in Islamabad on May 22, 2017.(AFP File Photo)

Pakistan’s Election Commission on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in connection with a contempt of court case.

The poll panel was hearing a case filed against 64-year-old Khan by Akbar S Babar, a dissident leader of the PTI. Appearing before the commission, Babar’s counsel said the panel ordered Khan to appear several times but he kept ignoring these directions.

“If he respected state institutions, he should have been here,” the lawyer said.

Babar Awan, Khan’s counsel, said the case pertaining to contempt of court would be heard by a larger bench of the high court. “Imran will appear before the larger bench court,” Awan said, adding that the PTI chief could not appear before the Election Commission since he was out of the country.

The Election Commission had ordered Khan to appear before it on Thursday and issued the bailable arrest warrant because of his absence. The panel said in its order that Khan should submit a surety bond of Rs 100,000 to avoid arrest and also appear in person at the next hearing on September 25.

Khan was issued a contempt notice by the Election Commission earlier this year after he accused the panel of being biased in a case related to the foreign funding of his party.

Awan is the fifth lawyer to defend Khan against the poll panel’s contempt charge. He recently resigned from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and his Senate seat and this is Awan’s first high-profile case after joining the PTI.

He represented former premier Benazir Bhutto and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in several corruption cases.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 15:11 IST