IHC decides to indict Imran in contempt case on Sept 22

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Reply found ‘unsatisfactory’; Justice Athar says IK’s replies showed ‘no remorse or regret’; Imran’s words were threatening: Justice Sattar

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday decided to indict PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan in contempt of court proceedings against him for passing controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, calling his response “unsatisfactory”.

The verdict was issued by a five-member bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aur­angzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar.

It stated that charges against the former prime minister will be framed after two weeks.

Immediately after the decision was announced, in an informal conversation with reporters outside the courtroom, Imran said he wanted to speak during the proceedings but was not allowed to do so.

The IHC had initiated contempt proceedings against Imran over his diatribe against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case, at a public rally in Islamabad’s F-9 Park on Aug 20.

On Wednesday, the former premier had submitted a second reply to the court after the first was termed “unsatisfactory”.During the hearing Thursday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minal­lah observed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s replies to the court’s show-cause notice appeared to be “justifying” contempt of the judiciary and showed “no remorse or regret”.

Imran’s counsel, Hamid Khan, said there was a difference between giving a justification and a clarification. “I am giving a clarification here.”

“Would you have submitted the same reply if these words were used for a Supreme Court or a high court judge?” Justice Minallah asked.

He highlighted that Imran was giving the justification that Gill was tortured while in police custody. “Tell us […] will the decisions be taken in rallies or the courts,” Justice Minallah inquired.

Subsequently, Justice Minallah said that the judges of district courts were more important than those of the high court or Supreme Court.

“Often times, the matter is not as serious as it is understood to be,” Hamid contended, admitting that Imran didn’t use the word “action” in his diatribe against the lady judge in the correct way.

Justice Sattar asked Imran’s counsel if legal action under the Contempt of Court Act could be publicly commented on.

Hamid replied that every citizen had the right to initiate legal proceedings, adding that the word action didn’t necessarily mean to threaten. “We assure the court that no one was threatened,” he maintained.

Justice Sattar also observed that the words used by Imran were “threatening”.

However, Imran’s lawyer argued that his client had stated multiple times that he was never against the judiciary. “He ran a campaign for the freedom of the judiciary,” Hamid pointed out.

 

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