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Arrest warrants issued for Imran for 'repeatedly failing to appear' before ECP

PTI chief Imran Khan

The election commission on Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for opposition party leader and former cricket star Imran Khan in a contempt of court case - a move that was swiftly rejected by his party.

However, as reported by Dawn, party spokesperson, Naeemul Haq stated that they will challenge the ECP's warrant in the Islamabad High Court.

The ECP ordered that the PTI chief "be arrested and brought for the next hearing of the case" filed by PTI dissident and one of the party's founding members, Akbar S. Babar, on October 26.

Hitting out at the ECP's order, Babar Awan, Imran Khan's chief counsel said, "A new warrant is issued in the same case where a (bailable) warrant was already suspended". However, the court suspended the warrant following a petition from PTI. Following which a show-cause notice for contempt, dated August 24, was issued.

He said Imran Khan did not declare his London flat in his tax returns and nomination papers for elections.

"We have made a decision to challenge the ECP order today because it is illegal and the commission has no jurisdiction to issue any arrest warrants for a political leader", Khan's spokesman Naeemul Haq told Anadolu Agency.

Despite being given repeated opportunities, the PTI chief refused to tender an unconditional apology in utter disregard of the commission's direction, it added.

Earlier in the day, the ECP had issued non-bailable arrest warrants of Imran in relation to a contempt of court case against him.

Khan had initially raised objections over ECP's jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him.