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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Thursday accepted apologies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Pervez Khattak and Maulana Fazlur Rehman for using indecent language during their election campaigns.

The Election Commission warned the politicians against using foul language in future. "Do not use such language in future," a four-member bench of the ECP headed by the Chief Election Commissioner former Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza warned the four leaders while accepting their apologies.

Imran Khan, who was served a notice after he termed those going to welcome ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif on his arrival from London as "donkeys," submitted an apology last month. His counsel Babar Awan had then argued before the Commission that donkey was a "common word that is used by teachers for their students." The ECP dropped the charges against Imran Khan, warning that such words should not be used in future.

The ECP also ordered to issue victory notification of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ex-Chief Minister Pervez Khattak which was previously withheld. He appeared before the ECP in person and apologized for indecent remarks which he made during one of his public rallies.

All these four politicians had tendered their separate apologies to the ECP, requesting that charges against them should be dropped and their victory notifications be issued. The bench reserved the judgment and announced it a while later.

Former National Assembly Speaker Sadiq's video clip was also played during hearing of the case wherein he used foul language against the Election Commission. His lawyer Kamran Murtaza, however, tendered an unconditional written apology from the bench. The counsel said he was apologizing on behalf of Sadiq to everyone who was hurt by his remarks.

The ECP had issued notices to Sadiq, Fazl and Khattak last month, deploring the use of "abusive, insolent and derogatory" language that had been aired and published by the electronic and print media, besides doing rounds on social media.

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan's lawyer Babar Awan also submitted a written reply on behalf of his client in another case pertaining to violation of secrecy of ballot. Awan said that Imran Khan had not deliberately shown his vote while casting the ballot in his constituency NA-53 Islamabad on July 25 polls.

Instead of going behind the voting screen to cast his vote in private, Khan publicly stamped his ballot paper placing it on the table of the election officer, with TV cameras filming him. The presiding officer and other polling staff did not object to the violation at that time, but later the ECP took notice of this violation and issued him a notice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018

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