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Thursday December 01, 2022

Government asks Supreme Court to begin contempt case against Imran Khan

The Ministry of Interior pleaded with the court to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran for wilfully disregarding its order of May 25, 2022

November 25, 2022
The Supreme Court premises. The SC website
The Supreme Court premises. The SC website

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior pleaded with the Supreme Court on Thursday to initiate contempt proceedings against PTI Chairman Imran Khan for wilfully disregarding and contemptuously disobeying its order of May 25, 2022.

Salman Aslam Butt, counsel for the Ministry of Interior, in pursuance of the court’s order, submitted a reply to the Supreme Court, providing details of tweets, video messages and call records of PTI leaders.

On Nov 18, a five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, while hearing the contempt case against the former prime minister, asked the Ministry of Interior that, if it deemed necessary, a response be provided to the concise statement for submissions filed on behalf of Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi.

The Ministry of Interior provided the court with evidence, including a USB, on the rally on May 25, 2022. Salman Akram Raja had sought time to submit his reply to the Interior Ministry’s evidence, which the court had granted.

The court had directed the Interior Ministry’s counsel to provide a copy of the USB to the PTI chairman’s counsel and further asked that the ministry counsel could also submit his rebuttal.

In its response submitted on Thursday, the Ministry of Interior prayed the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the respondent for wilfully disregarding and contemptuously disobeying the order passed by the apex court.

The Interior Ministry submitted that the respondent (Imran Khan) made false and incorrect statements before this court in his reply and that, despite the order passed by the apex court being in the field and knowledge, the respondent (Imran Khan) along with the leadership of his political party engaged in urging and leading the supporters and workers of his party to reach the D-Chowk, inter alia.

It further submitted that in his reply, Imran Khan assured the apex court of his absolute commitment to the rule of law and respect for the orders of this court; however, the acts of the respondent indicate otherwise.

In this regard, it is humbly submitted that in paragraph four of the respondent’s reply, the respondent himself has stated that his party, the PTI, had applied to the commissioner of Islamabad, via an application dated May 23, 2022, for permission to hold a political assembly on May 25, 2022, in the park between Sectors G-9 and H-9, Islamabad; however, the said application was turned down the same day by the Islamabad Capital Territory administration, the Interior Ministry submitted.

It further submitted it is evident that the respondent and his party did not have any legal authority or requisite permission to invade the Islamabad Capital Territory for any protest; despite the same, the respondent proceeded to urge his party workers and supporters to reach D-Chowk for a protest or dharna.

“Furthermore, it is humbly submitted that the rejection of the application above was not even challenged by the respondent,” says the Interior Ministry.

It submitted that it was the Islamabad High Court Bar Association that filed a petition before this court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, bearing C.P. No. 19/2022 whereby the protection of the fundamental rights of movement and assembly was sought, wherein vide the order, a learned three-member bench of this court, after being conveyed assurances/commitments/undertakings by the top party leadership of the PTI that a peaceful assembly will take place at the designated place, directed the Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory, to provide the ground located in the area between Sectors G-9 and H-9 of Islamabad for the political rally.

However, in flagrant disregard of the order and despite being in full knowledge of the proceedings before this court and the undertakings made therein, the respondent proceeded with its plan to reach D-Chowk.

“From the above, it is evident that the respondent, along with the leadership of his political party, wilfully, intentionally, and contemptuously disregarded the order passed by this court and has now resorted to taking an incorrect factual position(s) before this court, of which judicial notice may be taken,” the Interior Ministry added.

It is pertinent to mention here that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had earlier filed his reply in the apex court.

In its reply to Imran Khan’s submissions, the Ministry of Interior on Thursday said that the intention of the respondent and his political party was always, before the march on May 25, 2022, during the entire course of the day on May 25, 2022, as well as after the passing of the order passed by this court on May 25, 2022, to hold a dharna at D-Chowk, as is evident from the following along with timelines thereof.

Referring to the claim made by Imran Khan regarding phone jamming, the Ministry of Interior submitted that during the entire journey on the container, the mobile phones of people thereon were working, inter alia, where from live videos, speeches, and messages were being relayed on social media platforms from/inside the container, as well as live interviews were being given to various television channels, which could not be possible if mobile networks were not working on the container on account of the purported jamming devices, as is evident from the following along with timelines thereof.

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