“Last chance” given to Imran Khan, Asad umer by Election Commission of Pakistan

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and party leader Asad Umar were given a ‘last chance’ on Tuesday to present their arguments on the issue of a fine imposed by a district monitoring officer (DMO).

The assistant counsel for the two leaders appeared before a three-member committee chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.

During the hearing, the assistant counsel said that the matter is pending in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), to which the CEC replied that “this case has nothing to do with the case of Islamabad High Court” and added that the ECP is merely hearing an appeal filed against a fine imposed by DMO.

“The election commission is not punishing you that you would have to refer to the Islamabad High Court. If the appeal is withdrawn today, the election commission will end the matter,” he added.

The law officer of the ECP also read out the decision of the last IHC hearing. Raja further said that in today’s order, it will be mentioned that the case in the IHC and the one in ECP are separate.

The CEC said that if no arguments were given at the next hearing, the election commission would announce its decision. The election commission has to hear cases of delimitation day and night, he said further. The hearing of the matter was then adjourned till June 21.

It may be noted that despite ECP directives, Imran had on March 15 visited Swat and addressed a gathering while he was still in office ahead of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s local government elections that were scheduled for March 31. The ECP had, as a result, imposed a fine of Rs50,000

According to the new ECP code of conduct, no public office holder can visit the districts where elections are/about to being/be held.

Earlier that month, Lower Dir District Monitoring Officer Hameedullah had imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on the then premier for violating the electoral code of conduct. The ECP had twice issued notices to Imran for violating the code of conduct.

The last notice was sent on March 21 for addressing a political rally in K-P’s Malakand. It had directed the then prime minister to appear before the Malakand DMO on March 22 at 10am. According to the notice, “The premier had addressed the rally as part of the PTI’s election campaign and had used state resources.”