ECP defers Imran Khan’s indictment in contempt case again; next hearing on August 22

Islamabad: Pakistan’s election commission on Wednesday deferred the indictment of Imran Khan again in a case linked to the contempt of the top electoral body and its head till August 22 after the former prime minister failed to appear before it in person.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) initiated contempt proceedings against Khan, 70, and former leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry, last year for allegedly using “intemperate” language against the chief election commissioner and the electoral watchdog.

The electoral body’s four-member bench, headed by Nisar Ahmad Durrani, deferred Khan’s indictment till August 22 on Wednesday as he failed to appear before them, Geo News reported.

Khan’s representative, Shoaib Shaheen, filed an application seeking exemption from personal appearance on his behalf and requested an adjournment till September.

ECP member retired Justice Ikramullah Khan pointed out that Khan was supposed to be indicted during Wednesday’s hearing, according to the Dawn newspaper.

“How can we accept a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance?” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Shaheen told the ECP that Khan had gone to the hospital for a medical check-up as he had been appearing before several courts recently.

Khan attended the hearing last week for the first time in the case, which had started in August last year.

Adjourning the hearing, the bench said the PTI chief would be indicted on August 22.

“It is necessary that the PTI chief is present before the bench for his indictment,” a member of the bench was quoted as saying in the report.

Khan is facing more than 140 cases across the country and faces charges like terrorism, violence, blasphemy, corruption and murder.

The former-cricketer-turned-politician was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

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