Sunday December 03, 2023

Contempt case: Imran Khan's arrest warrant issued in Islamabad

Arrest warrants were issued by a magistrate of Islamabad's Margalla Police Station

October 01, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaking during a video statement from Islamabad, on April 30, 2022. — Twitter/PTIofficial
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaking during a video statement from Islamabad, on April 30, 2022. — Twitter/PTIofficial

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Magistrate on Saturday issued an arrest warrant for PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Geo News reported. 

The arrest warrant was issued by a magistrate of Islamabad's Margalla Police Station in the case registered on August 20 against the PTI chief for issuing threats against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.

The FIR includes four sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), including 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 189 (threat of injury to public servant), and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

The former prime minister is facing contempt charges for his controversial remarks about the female judge during a rally in Islamabad on August 20.

The court has issued an arrest warrant for Khan due to his non-appearance in court. The arrest warrants were issued hours after he submitted to the Islamabad High Court an affidavit in a contempt case against him, saying he had realised he “might have crossed a line” in his criticism of Chaudhry and was willing to apologise to her “if she got an impression” that he had crossed a line.

PTI's reaction

Following the issuance of the warrant, PTI leader Asad Umar warned the government to not arrest Imran Khan, saying that they will "regret" if the decision.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the issuance of a warrant in such a "weak" case was pointless.

"A circus has been created in the media by issuing warrants over pointless legal clauses and a foolish case which was not needed," he added. 

Shibli Faraz rebuts rumours of Khan escaping

Refuting all claims that Khan has left his residence for an unidentified location, Senator Shibli Faraz shared a picture of the PTI chief feeding his dogs at his residence.

“Imran khan feeding dogs at this very moment while news rife that police intending to arrest him,” he wrote.

PTI chief submits affidavit

Khan avoided tendering an unconditional apology for the third time as he submitted his response to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In the last hearing on September 22, Khan surprisingly apologised before the IHC and assured the court that he would not issue such a statement again — leading the court to delay his indictment.

The PTI chairman appeared on Friday before the court of judge Chaudhry and told the court staff that he wanted to apologise to the judge, however, she was on leave.

But in the latest response, Khan, although mentioning that he "might have crossed a red line while making a public speech", fell short of apologising for his remarks.

"The deponent (Khan) never intended to threaten the judge [...] and that there was no intention behind the statement to take any action other than legal action," his response affidavit stated.

Khan said that he assures the court that he is willing to explain and clarify before the female judge that neither he nor his party sought any action against her.

"...the deponent is willing to apologise to the judge if she got an impression that the deponent had crossed a line," the PTI chairman stated.

Khan assured the IHC that he would "never do anything in future" that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary.

The PTI chairman added that he is willing to take any further steps that the IHC deems necessary and that he never intended to interfere with the process of the court or impugn the dignity or independence of the judiciary.

The former chief executive said that he stands by his September 22 statement and "once again assure[s] this court that he would always abide by the afore-referred statement, in letter and spirit".

The hearing of the case will take place on October 3, when IHC will review Khan's response.

The case

On August 23, a larger bench of the IHC issued a show-cause notice to Khan after taking up contempt of court proceedings against him for threatening the judge during the rally.

The PTI chair had staged a rally in the federal capital on August 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill after claims of torture inflicted on him in custody.

He warned the Islamabad inspector-general and deputy inspector-general that he would “not spare” them, vowing to file cases against them for subjecting Gill to alleged inhuman torture.

Turning his guns towards the additional sessions judge, who sent Gill into physical remand on the police's request, Khan then said she [the judge] should brace herself for consequences.