Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a contempt of court case for "repeatedly failing to appear for the hearing and for failing to send a written apology for absence in 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.
PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq said the party will challenge the warrant in the Islamabad High Court, Dawn news reported.
On September 14, the ECP had issued a bailable arrest warrant against Khan following his failure to show up for the proceedings, which were later suspended by the court on the PTI's petition.
"A new warrant is issued in the same case where a (bailable) warrant was already suspended. We will also look into whether this is contempt of the IHC's full bench or not, and then (the party) we will challenge it," said PTI member and Khan's chief counsel Babar Awan.
In August, the ECP had issued a second show-cause notice to Khan after he failed to reply to an earlier notice regarding the contempt of court proceedings against him.
Khan had initially raised objections over ECP's jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings against him. The commission, however, declared on August 10 that it had the legal right to hear the contempt case.
It had then issued a formal show-cause notice to the PTI chairman, asking him to submit a reply by August 23.
Awan had then appeared before the five-member ECP bench and pleaded that they wanted to challenge the ECP's judgement regarding the maintainability of the contempt petition and should be granted some time.
The cricketer-turned-politician had accused the ECP of being biased in the foreign-funding case following which his counsel had tendered an apology with the commission.
However, Khan in a TV interview later said that his counsel had tendered an apology in his personal capacity and that he had not apologised.