Thursday June 13, 2024

Contempt case: Imran Khan apologises for threatening judge

IHC CJ Athar Minallah directs Imran Khan to file an affidavit tendering a written apology

By Web Desk
September 22, 2022
Former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) Imran Khan appears before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Islamabad on August 20, 2022. — Twitter/PTI
Former prime minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) Imran Khan appears before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Islamabad on August 20, 2022. — Twitter/PTI

ISLAMABAD: In a surprise move, PTI Chairman Imran on Thursday apologised at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for his controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.

A five-member larger bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar heard the contempt of court case registered against Imran Khan.

Today’s hearing

At the outset of today’s hearing, Imran Khan said that he never intended to hurt the sentiments of the judiciary.

The PTI chairman said, “I apologise, if I have crossed the line”.

“I assure you that such an act will never happen in the future,” Imran Khan said and pleaded with the court that he is ready to personally apologise to the lady judge if her sentiments are hurt due to his remarks during the Islamabad rally.

Appreciating his apology, Justice Minallah postponed his indictment in the contempt of court case and directed him to submit an affidavit tendering a written apology.

“You realised the seriousness of your statement, we appreciate it,” observed Justice Minallah.

Justice Minallah directed the PTI chairman to submit the affidavit on September 29. He maintained that the court will decide after reviewing the affidavit.

“If the court wants something else, I am also ready for it,” said Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the case till October 3.

In his previous response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the case, the PTI chairman did not apologise, offering, however, to withdraw his remarks “if they were inappropriate”. 

In his second response, which was a 19-page-long document, the PTI chairman seemingly opted to tell the court that it should discharge the notice based on his explanation and follow the Islamic principles of forgiveness.

However, in both responses, the PTI chairman did not offer an unconditional apology, which ultimately led to the court taking the decision despite amici curiae suggesting that the former prime minister be forgiven.

What did Imran Khan say?

At a rally at the F-9 park in Islamabad, Khan warned that he would “not spare” Islamabad's inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and the female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for "torturing" Gill.

“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he said, while addressing the gathering.

The former prime minister called out the sessions judge, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she, too, should "prepare" as a case will also be registered against her.

The PTI chief led the rally in Islamabad from Zero Point to F-9 Park in support of incarcerated leader Gill, who the party claims was subjected to “gruesome torture” in police custody.

IHC's notice

On August 22, IHC registrar Farhan Aziz Khawaja put up a note regarding the ‘threatening remarks’ of the PTI leader about Zeba Chaudhry before acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

After consultation with the other senior judges, the IHC acting CJ served contempt of court notice on Imran Khan and formed a larger bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Babar Sattar and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb to hear the contempt case.

A first information report (FIR) had been registered against former prime minister Imran Khan under the Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening an additional sessions judge and senior police officers of the Islamabad Police at a rally in the federal capital’s F-9 Park.

The FIR was registered on the complaint of Magistrate Ali Javed in Islamabad's Margalla Police Station under Section 7 of ATA.

The FIR states that the PTI chairman threatened Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and police officers to “terrorise” police officials and judiciary. 

The main aim of the intimidation was to prevent the police officers and judiciary from carrying out their legal obligations, says the FIR.

The PTI challenged the case in the IHC which removed the terror charges from the FIR.