- ECP not a tribunal, can’t take up contempt cases, says Umar.
- Content presented in court doesn’t qualify as defamation: Umar.
- Former FinMin says ECP ‘only focused on PTI’s scrutiny.”
Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Asad Umar Tuesday apologised to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a contempt case.
The proceeding against the PTI leaders including Chairman Imran Khan, Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar was held in a local court for levelling allegations against the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.
During the proceedings, Asad Umar submitted a reply to the show cause notice issued to him by the ECP.
The former planning minister stated in his response that the ECP is not a court or a tribunal, therefore it cannot take up contempt proceedings. He added that the Sindh High Court (SHC) is already hearing a related case.
Asad claimed that under the contempt law, the authority that files the contempt case cannot hear it. The content presented regarding the ECP does not fall within the definition of defamation, he added.
The PTI leader also accused the Election Commission of being biased saying that the authority “only focused on the PTI’s scrutiny,” and did not take any action against other political parties.
Umar added that in case of discriminatory attitude by the constitutional body, the accused has the right to raise his voice. The fact-finding report of the Election Commission is “entirely baseless and incorrect,” any party leader has the right to express his opinion about a constitutional institution, the former finance minister said.
In the response, he claimed that “In light of the above, the initiation of these contempt proceedings against the answering Deponent is entirely without jurisdiction, is baseless and violative of Articles 9, 10A, 19, 175 and 204, wherefore, the same should be dismissed on the above-stated reasons.”
However, he added: “If this commission feels that the statements made are of a nature that amounts to contempt, he places himself at the mercy of the commission and states that he is sorry for the statements made and that he may be excused and the proceedings dropped.”
Umar added that the case is baseless without scope and a violation of the constitution, so it should be disposed of now. However, he said that if the ECP thinks that he insulted the authority then he leaves himself at the mercy of the commission.