Former prime minister Imran Khan addresses rally in Islamabad. -AFP/File

Security high alert ahead of Imran Khan’s appearance at IHC

by Pakistan News
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Former prime minister Imran Khan addresses rally in Islamabad. -AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Security has been beefed up ahead of former prime minister Imran Khan’s appearance at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a contempt case over his derogatory remarks against a judge.

The Islamabad Police has placed tents from the entry gate to the courtroom and special passes have been issued for lawyers and journalists for today’s hearing.

The PTI chairman has been summoned by the IHC to appear before it today after a show-cause notice was issued to him.

On August 23, a larger bench of the IHC issued a show-cause notice to Khan after taking up contempt of court proceedings against him for threatening additional sessions judge during a public rally.

A five-member bench comprised Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar will hear the case.

The former prime minister has submitted his reponse to the notice, offering to withdraw remarks against Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry “if they were inappropriate” but did not apologise for threatening her.

The reply read: “There is another critical aspect of the matter. According to the order passed on the said note of the worthy Registrar, the Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice observed that ‘the matter was discussed in the tea room and all my colleagues unanimously agreed with proceeding forward’.”

“It is submitted again with respect, and without prejudice to the submissions on the merits of the alleged contempt, that once again there is a serious procedural lapse in the instant matter which will have a great bearing upon the matter.

“It is submitted with the utmost respect that all those Hon’ble Judges who agreed to the initiation of the instant proceeding, having pre-judged the matter, might have to consider recusal from the matter, in the interest of justice, due process and rule of law.”

The proceedings were initiated against him on the basis of newspaper clippings critical of him, he said. “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 respondent submits with humility that if words he uttered is regarded as inappropriate, he is willing to take them back,” he said, urging the court to evaluate the speech within its context.

Khan added that his remarks against the additions sessions judge were not obstruction of justice, nor were they intended to undermine the integrity and credibility of the judicial system. 

“If, in a public rally and if in the flow of speech, the Respondent uttered such words which could annoy this Honourable Court, the Respondent wants to categorically state that it was not his intent.”

The reply maintained that the former prime minister had mistaken the additional sessions judge for the magistrate performing administrative functions under the direction of the federal government who was hell-bent on torturing Shahbaz Gill and violating his fundamental rights.

“It was in this misconception that she was referred to a magistrate,” it said, adding that the PTI chief had no intention of saying anything against the judicial officer. 

“It is submitted that the respondent had no motive (ill-will) behind the said speech or remarks, nor were those directed specifically towards the judicial officer.”

The PTI chief requested the IHC to withdraw the show-cause notice and dispose of contempt of court proceedings. 

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