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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued a bailable arrest warrant for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan following his failure to show up for the contempt of court proceedings.
Hearing the contempt of court case against Khan filed by PTI dissident and one of the founding members, Akbar S Babar, the poll panel ordered the cricketer-turned-politician to appear before the court on September 25.
The ECP had issued the contempt notice to Khan on January 24 over his "scandalous remarks" about the commission. He also accused the body of being biased in a foreign funding case.
Khan's counsel Babar Awan argued on Thursday that the PTI chief was abroad and had returned to the country just an hour ago.
"Imran Khan respects the Election Commission and will appear before the ECP whenever it orders," Dawn quoted Awan as saying.
However, the petitioner's lawyer said that the ECP had ordered Khan to appear before it but he kept ignoring the directions. "If he respected state institutions, he should have been here," the lawyer added.
The ECP, which reserved its judgment in the contempt case, had last month issued a second showcause notice to the PTI chief after he failed to reply to the earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Raising objections over the ECP's jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him, the PTI chief had initially challenged the maintainability of the contempt petition.
The ECP, however, declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case and had then issued a formal showcause notice to the PTI chairman, asking him to submit a reply by August 23.