Contempt case: IHC to indict Imran Khan tomorrow

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Imran Khan contempt case

Islamabad: Chairman PTI Imran Khan will be indicted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) tomorrow (Thursday) in a contempt case for his controversial remarks about Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.

The IHC, on September 8, had decided to formally frame contempt of court charges against Imran Khan after finding his response “unsatisfactory”.

A five-member bench, headed by IHC CJ Justice Athar Minallah, and comprising Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kay­ani, Miangul Hassan Aur­an­gzeb, Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, and Babar Sattar, unanimously decided to indict Imran Khan.

IHC decides to indict Imran in contempt case on Sept 22

The Case

Imran Khan, while addressing a rally at F-9 park, in Islamabad, on August 20, alleged that Judge Zeba Chaudhry knew that incarcerated party leader Shahbaz Gill was tortured, but she did not release him on bail. He threatened to take “action” against the judge and the Islamabad IG and DIG police.

Following the speech, the IHC registrar Farhan Aziz Khawaja put up a note regarding the “threatening remarks” of the PTI leader about the lady judge before the then-acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

After consultation with the other senior judges, the 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.

Khan’s first response to show-cause notice

In his first response to the show-cause notice, Imran Khan told the IHC that due to “serious misunderstanding and misconception” he misunderstood that female Judge Zeba Chaudhry was not a judicial officer but an executive magistrate performing executive functions under the federal government’s directions.

In the response, he did not apologise for threatening the additional sessions judge, offering, however, to withdraw remarks “if they were inappropriate.”

“As someone who believes in rule of law and a strong independent justice system, the respondent does not believe in hurting the feelings of honourable judges,” the response had read.

IHC gives Imran Khan seven days to submit another response

On August 31, the IHC granted Chairman PTI Imran Khan seven days to submit another written response to the show-cause notice served on the former Prime Minister.

In his second response to the show-cause notice, the PTI Chairman said that he appreciated the second chance provided to him by the honourable court to “reflect upon the whole issue” and “submit a supplementary reply”.

Imran Khan said that he had profound regard and respect for this Honorable Court and its subordinate Courts and judges.

“The Respondent [Imran Khan] takes this opportunity to express his deep regrets over his unintentional utterances during the course of this speech at a rally which was taken out in response to the shocking news of physical torture of Shehbaz Gill,” the statement read.

It said that Imran Khan never meant to hurt her feelings, and if her feelings were hurt, it is deeply regretted.

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

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