The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dropped the charges against Imran Khan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Pervez Khattak for using indecent language during their election campaigns.
A four-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza announced its reserved verdicts in the cases, warning the politicians not to use foul language in the future.
Earlier today, former National Assembly speaker Sadiq and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Khattak had tendered their separate apologies to the ECP for using indecent language while campaigning. Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Fazl had already submitted an apology.
The commission had issued notices to Sadiq, Fazl and Khattak last month, deploring the “abusive, insolent and derogatory” language used against other leaders that had been aired and published by the electronic and print media, besides doing rounds on social media.
Pointing out that this was a clear violation of the code of conduct issued by it, the ECP had asked the three political leaders to desist from using such language and summoned them to appear before it in person or through their counsel.
Lawyer Kamran Murtaza, who was representing Sadiq, submitted an apology on behalf of the ex-NA speaker.
The counsel said he was apologising on behalf of Sadiq to everyone who was hurt by his remarks, adding that one tends to misspeak when they are delivering a speech.
At this, the CEC reminded the lawyer that Sadiq had recently allegedly questioned what was the standing [auqat] of the ECP leadership.
“Now see what his own standing is,” CEC Raza remarked.
“I want to respectfully apologise [on Sadiq’s behalf] once again,” the lawyer responded.
Before the bench reserved its verdict on the matter, a clip was also played of the PML-N leader allegedly using derogatory language against political opponents.
Meanwhile, Khattak appeared before the ECP himself to face the charges. A video clip showing Khattak apologising over his remarks was also played as the verdict was reserved.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, who was served a notice after he termed those going to welcome deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his arrival from London “donkeys”, had submitted an apology last month.
Khan’s counsel Babar Awan had then argued before the commission that donkey was a “common word that was used by teachers for their students”.
Accepting the apologies submitted by the political leaders, the ECP rescinded the suo motu notices taken against them.