Expressing its satisfaction over the conduct of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, a five-member larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday discharged the contempt of court notice against him for his controversial remarks against a female judge.
In its unanimous verdict, the IHC larger bench, headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, stated that Imran Khan has proved his good intention as he visited a sessions court of Islamabad in order to tender an apology to judge Zeba Chaudhry.
The IHC larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar, heard the case.
During the proceedings, Hamid Khan, Imran’s counsel, told the court that his client had submitted a third reply to the court.
Minallah remarked, “We have read the affidavit.”
Expressing his satisfaction over the conduct of Imran Khan, in view of his visit to the sessions court to tender an apology to the female judge, Justice Minallah announced to dismiss the contempt of court charge against the PTI leader.
At this, Additional Attorney-General Amir Rahman said that Imran Khan did not tender an unconditional apology. Justice Minallah asked him to submit his objections in writing as they would include them in the detailed judgment and wrap up the case.
Earlier, while speaking to the journalists outside the court, the PTI chief said that the party MNAs will not go back to the National Assembly.
The former premier, talking about the return of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz's passport, said that the nation is upset as these "thieves" are getting NRO II.
"It is proved that there is no rule of law in this country," he responded.
Reacting to the IHC verdict, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that "fitna" has been forgiven.
"The contempt was committed in front of the entire world. So instead of saying that the case has been dismissed, it would be more appropriate to say that fitna has been forgiven," Maryam wrote on Twitter.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the case against Khan was based on a misunderstanding.
He said that the actual issue is about PML-N leaders' "properties worth billions of rupees" which is being forgiven — an indirect reference to Maryam Nawaz’s acquittal in Avenfield corruption reference by the IHC.
It is pertinent to mention here that the former prime minister was facing contempt charges for his controversial remarks about Judicial Magistrate Zeba Chaudhry during a rally in Islamabad on August 20.
The IHC was initially scheduled to indict Khan on September 22, but he surprisingly apologised before the court and assured it that he would not issue such a statement again — leading the court to delay his indictment.
Later, on October 1, Khan submitted his affidavit assuring 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, and he would "never do anything in future" that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary.
However, he avoided tendering an unconditional apology. Although mentioning that he "might have crossed a red line while making a public speech", Khan fell short of apologising for his remarks in his latest response.
In his first 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 forced the IHC to set a date for framing charges against Khan.
In the hearing on September 22, when the court was about to frame charges against Khan, he dodged them by apologising to the IHC and gained more time.
The PTI chairman appeared on Friday before the court of Judge Zeba Chaudhry and told the court staff that he wanted to apologise to the judge, however, she was on leave.
On October 1, PTI Chairman Imran Khan submitted another affidavit with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in connection with a contempt case.
In his third response, Imran Khan said, “The deponent wants to assure this honourable court that he would never do anything in the future that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary,” but he did not tender an unconditional apology.
He said, "might have crossed a red line while making a public speech", falling 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," the 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.
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.
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.
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