IHC drops contempt proceedings against Imran Khan
Dismisses show-cause notice issued to PTI chief: CJ says case stands disposed of as it is unanimous decision of the larger bench: AAG opposes decision: Amicus curiae points out Imran failed to tender unconditional apology in his affidavit: Court says apparently it seemed a contempt of court case but Imran went to district court
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The Islamabad High Court has dismissed the contempt proceedings against PTI Chairman Imran Khan who uttered controversial remarks against a female judge last month during a public rally in Islamabad, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A five-judge larger bench headed by IHC 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 on Monday.
During the hearing which lasted not more than a few minutes, the court dismissed the show-cause notice issued to PTI Chief Imran Khan for his controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry at an August 20 public rally.
Chief Justice Minallah remarked: “We are disposing of the case after discharging the show-cause notice. It’s the unanimous decision of the larger bench.”
Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman raised an objection and opposed the court decision to accept the affidavit of Imran Khan as he pointed to the cases involving Nehal Hashmi, Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry.
“Are you saying you support the judgements in these cases?” Justice Minallah asked and subsequently told the attorney general to submit a written copy of his reservations in court.
The amicus curiae pointed out that Imran did not tender an unconditional apology in his affidavit.
On which, CJ Minallah remarked that the court would write down his suggestions in its written order. He directed him to submit his written contentions to the court.
While addressing Hamid Khan, the chief justice said that the court had seen the affidavit and it would say something about it. The court reckons apparently it was a contempt of court, the CJ said adding that Imran Khan went to the district court.
As the PTI chief appeared before the court, the administration took strict security measures around the court building.
During its last hearing, the court declared Imran’s statement regarding his apology satisfying. Chief Justice Athar Minallah had said that the court would record the PTI chief's statement and told him to submit an affidavit. "Submit an affidavit detailing what you have said," the IHC CJ adding
"It is your personal decision as to visit the judge in person."
"If you have realised [your] mistake and ready to apologise for it [...] that is enough," the court remarked.
However, in his affidavit submitted to the court on Saturday, the PTI chief has eschewed to extend unconditional apology.
In his affidavit, the former premier said he had realised he “might have crossed a line” in his criticism of judge Zeba Chaudhry and was willing to apologise to her “if she got an impression” that he had crossed a line.
The court had sought the affidavit during a hearing on September 22, when Imran had offered to tender an apology to Judge Chaudhry.
The judge was criticized by Imran during a public rally in Islamabad on Aug 20 for approving his close aide Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case. During his address, Imran had threatened to file cases against Islamabad police high-ups and took exception to ADSJ Chaudhry. He threatened her that she should “prepare herself as action would be taken against her”.
Shortly after that an FIR was registered against Imran at Islamabad’s Margalla police station. The Islamabad High Court also took notice of the threat hurled at a sessions judge and started contempt proceedings against Imran.
Reporter Ehtisham Kiyani