ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has decided to indict former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a contempt of court case against him for threatening Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, ARY News reported.
A five-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar, announced the verdict, calling his response “unsatisfactory”.
“Imran Khan’s response was not satisfactory,” said IHC CJ Athar Minallah and observed that the former prime minister will be indicted in a contempt case after two weeks on September 22.
During today’s hearing, the IHC Chief Justice Athjar Minallah said that Imran Khan’s remarks come under criminal contempt and the intent does not matter in such cases.
“We have told you during last hearing that it is a criminal contempt. Your client has spoken regarding a judge hearing an ongoing case,” the court remarked.
The court directed the Khan’s counsel Hamid Khan to read section 9 of the contempt of court ordinance. “District courts are a red line for our court,” the CJ IHC said.
Justice Babar Sattar said during the proceedings the show-cause sent to Imran Khan clearly states that he has committed criminal and judicial contempt.
“Do you submit a similar response if you’ve uttered similar words against a supreme court or a high court judge?” the IHC CJ asked Hamid Khan, adding that district court judges are more important than higher judiciary.
The IHC chief justice said that Justice Babar Sattar rejected a contempt plea against Fawad Chaudhry recently and even if remarks of Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry would have fallen under their ambit, they would have never taken notice of them.
“We will never issue a contempt notice for scandalizing this court. However, your case pertains to criminal contempt,” the judge said to Khan’s counsel.
Attorney General and judicial assistants argue before court
The court also summoned attorney general to the rostrum after Hamid Khan concluded his remarks. Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf said that Khan was forgiven in a similar case of contempt in 2014.
“The intention and purpose behind any contempt is important,” he said.
Lawyer Munir A Malik opposed contempt plea against Imran Khan and the courts always expresses restrain while exercising their power under contempt charges. “I will be the last person to accept that a speech has impacted this court’s decision-making,” he said.
He shared that a contempt notice could be eliminated on two things which included an apology and conduct of the suspect. “Here the conduct shows respect for the court.”
Senior lawyer and former Attorney General of Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan, who appeared before the court as a judicial assistant, also asked the court to forgive Imran Khan.
Imran Khan submits second reply
Imran Khan on Wednesday submitted the second reply in contempt of court notice against him by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), expressing deep regrets over his unintentional utterances during the Faisalabad rally.
Imran Khan in his reply before the IHC expressed gratitude towards the IHC bench for giving him a second chance to submit his response in the case and said that he could not think of uttering anything against the judiciary.
He further said that his words were not meant to hurt the feelings of Judge Zeba Chaudhry and if her feeling have been hurt, it is deeply regretted. The reply from Imran Khan further said that he assures the court that he would not shy away from expressing his remorse to her.
Last hearing of IHC
During the last hearing, the IHC declared Imran Khan’s response to the contempt of court case ‘unsatisfactory’ and gave him another 7 days to submit a revised response.
The hearing of the contempt of court case against the PTI Chief was held at the IHC. Chief Justice Athar Minallah expressed disappointment over the response to the contempt notice submitted by the former prime minister.
During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that he had read a response from Imran Khan and was not expecting this reply from him.
“The lower courts are not elite courts and they should be given importance. We did not expect such a statement from your client,” the chief justice said to Hamid Khan who was representing the PTI chairman.
The chief justice said that he expected that there would be a realization regarding the mistake and that the statement would be regretted. “However, the written response does not indicate if Imran Khan realizes what he has done,” he said.