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Thursday January 26, 2023

Asad Umar apologises to LHC over 'contemptuous' remarks against judges

PTI leader says aim wasn't to target courts, judges in speech during party's long march

December 07, 2022
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary-General Asad Umar speaking during a public gathering. — Instagram/ @asadumarofficial
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary-General Asad Umar speaking during a public gathering. — Instagram/ @asadumarofficial

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Secretary-General Asad Umar offered Wednesday morning an apology before the Lahore High Court (LHC), which had summoned the politician before it over his "contemptuous" remarks during the party's long march. 

On Monday, the LHC had taken up a plea against Umar's speech during the party's long march gathering on November 26, the day it was finally called off after almost a month.

The additional registrar of the court's Rawalpindi registry had filed the plea against Umar.

Taking it up, LHC's Rawalpindi registry judge had summoned Umar in personal capacity and sought the video transcript, along with a response from the politician.

Appearing before the court today, Umar said his aim was not to target the courts or judges.

To this, Justice Jawad Hassan remarked that the court has his video statement, and doesn't wish to play it. "We know very well what you said," the judge told Umar. He added that the party was allowed to hold its long march but it targeted the courts.

“If I crossed any line with my statements, I apologise,” Umar responded.

The court then disposed of the contempt case against the PTI leader.

PTI's long march

PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan, along with his supporters and party leaders, started the "Azadi March" against the incumbent government on October 28, to force them to conduct early elections in the country.

However, Khan called off his party's long march on November 26 and announced not to move forward to Islamabad. He also announced to dissolve all the assemblies, saying that he did not want to be a part of “this system”.

It was when the former prime minister attended the public gathering for the first time since the attempt on his life on November 3 in Wazirabad, where Khan's convoy stopped during PTI's long march.

Khan survived an assassination bid in a shooting incident that left him injured in both his legs. The much-touted anti-government march on the federal capital was abruptly stopped on November 3 after Khan was wounded.

The former prime minister was rushed to Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore, where he received treatment for bullet wounds and fracture in his legs.

The march was later resumed from the same point but PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi led it, as Khan announced that he would lead join the march from Rawalpindi. Since then, he was addressing the march participants via video link.

Khan, after days of warning to quit all the assemblies to pressure the government on early elections, also expressed willingness to halt the assemblies' dissolution if the ruling coalition agrees to hold polls by the end of March next year, on December 4.

“If they are ready for elections by the end of March, then we won't dissolve the assemblies. Otherwise, we want to conduct polls by dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies,” Khan said.

He added that his party won’t agree on a date after March and assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.