ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) was happy with Imran Khan’s apology on Thursday, when it decided not to charge the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader in the contempt of court case.
The former prime minister told the court that he was willing to apologise to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry for what he had said. The case was filed against the ex-PM because, at a rally last month, he threatened the judge for letting PTI leader Shahbaz Gill stay in jail.
The case was led by IHC Chief Justice (CJ) Athar Minallah, who was in charge of a larger bench of five judges. Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb, Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, and Babar Sattar were also on the bench.
“At first glance, we are satisfied with the respondent’s apology. Let him file an affidavit with this court before the next date that has been set. Let the case be put off until October 3, 2022, so that charges can be made against the respondent. “The case will be heard on the set date at 2:30 p.m.,” the court’s written order said.
The charges were going to be read in court today. But Imran’s lawyer, Hamid Khan, made the same request as at the last hearing, and the PTI leader was given the chance to talk in court.
“I’m the only one who talks about rule of law at political rallies,” Imran said, emphasising that he had worked for this cause for the past 26 years.
“If you want me to apologise to the woman judge, I am ready to do it,” he said. “I didn’t mean to say what I said,” the head of the PTI said.
“I promise the court I won’t do anything like this again,” he said. He also said he was “sorry” for “crossing a red line.”
The court then said that starting a contempt of court case against the head of the PTI was not the point. “The case was being heard, so we started the contempt of court proceedings,” CJ Minallah said.
The CJ said, “We appreciate the apology, but what happened shouldn’t have happened.” “All we care about are the lower courts,” the judge said as he told Imran to send an affidavit about the case in a week.
“We are not telling you what to say or what not to say,” he went on. “You decide,” we say.
But the court also said, “If you realise you were wrong, the court appreciates that.”
Before, the high court said that neither of Imran’s extra answers to the reference were good enough and set September 22 as the date to indict him.
On August 20, Imran said some controversial things about the judge because he let Shahbaz Gill, the leader of Imran’s party, be held in jail for sedition.
In a circular about the PTI leader’s court appearance, the IHC said that the case would be heard by a larger bench on Thursday (today) at 2:30 p.m.
But after Imran Khan’s comments in court on Thursday, CJ Minallah said, “It’s not right for us to punish contempt of court.”
The IHC then told Imran to submit an affidavit to show that he was willing to apologise to the judge in question, and it decided to put off the trial until October 3.
Before the hearing, strict security plans were made for the court and the area around it. Security was also stepped up in different parts of the federal capital in case something went wrong. The number of people stationed in dangerous areas and on important routes was raised.
Lawyers, law officers, and journalists needed passes to get into the courtroom. The registrar of the high court also let lawyers, law officers, and journalists listen to audio cases in the press room and bar room.
The courtroom was open to Imran’s 15-person legal team, 15 lawyers from the office of the attorney general and advocate general, 3 court clerks, and 15 court reporters.
In the courtroom, five lawyers from both the high court and the district bar will be allowed.