PTI Chairman Imran Khan has arrived at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to attend the contempt proceedings against him for his controversial remarks about a female judge, who had approved PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case.
The PTI chief was swarmed by reporters as he made his way to the IHC amid tight security alongside Shibli Faraz and Faisal Javed.
The IHC had initiated contempt proceedings against Imran over his diatribe against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry 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”; at the previous hearing, the IHC had asked the PTI chief to submit a “well-considered” response.
In the revised response, however, Imran stopped short of rendering an unconditional apology. He stated that “I have a profound regard and respect for this honourable court and its subordinate courts and judge”.
The fresh response stated: “The respondent [Imran Khan] takes this opportunity to express his deep regrets over his unintentional utterances during the course of his speech at a rally which was taken out in response to the shocking news of physical torture of Shahbaz Gill.
“The respondent never meant to hurt her [the judge’s] feelings and if her feelings have been hurt, it is deeply regretted. The respondent neither meant to threaten the lady judge nor could he think of doing so,” it added.
Imran assured the IHC that he would not “shy away from expressing his remorse to her. Those utterances were never meant to interfere with or in any way influence the course of administration of justice.”
According to the reply, the PTI chairman due to his busy schedule was not aware that the issue of Gill’s remand was a sub judice matter, and “after horrific news of physical torture” he unintentionally uttered these words against the judge.
“The respondent’s reference to the lady judge and other officers during his speech was spontaneous and in the spur of the moment and was not calculated to personally attack any judicial officer or the judiciary in any manner whatsoever.”
Imran also cited the statements of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against the former chief justice of Pakistan and the judges of the apex court following his disqualification in the Panamagate case.
He stated that “the purpose of the contempt law is not to punish anyone but to uphold the majesty of law. The respondent believes in the rule of law and supremacy of the constitution.”
The PTI chief also beseeched the court to follow Islamic principles of “forgiveness and restrain” in the contempt of court case against him.
The decision to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran was taken by Justice Aamer Farooq while hearing a petition challenging Gill’s police remand.
On August 23, the court summoned Imran on August 31 and issued him a show-cause notice.
A day before the hearing, the former prime minister submitted a reply before the IHC wherein he expressed his willingness to “take back” his words about the judge if they were “regarded as inappropriate” and pleaded before the IHC that the judges who had agreed to initiate the case against him should consider withdrawing themselves from the bench as, according to him, they had pre-judged the matter.
However, the IHC had deemed the response to be “unsatisfactory” and asked the PTI chief to submit a “well-considered” response. Following this, Imran on Wednesday submitted a fresh reply in the court.