ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday directed PTI Chairman Imran to resubmit his response in the contempt of court case within the next seven days.
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 heard the case.
In response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the case, the PTI chairman did not apologise for threatening additional sessions judge of Islamabad, Zeba Chaudhry, offering, however, to withdraw his remarks “if they were inappropriate.”
The IHC CJ, during the hearing, said he was “disappointed” by the response of Khan in the case. He asked him to review his response and submit it once more.
Without asking Khan to come on the rostrum, the court adjourned the hearing till September 8 and ordered that the response can be submitted through the PTI chairman’s counsel.
At the outset of the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Hamid Khan came forward and took the stand. IHC CJ Minallah told him that although he was Khan’s lawyer, he was also there to assist the court.
“I did not expect this from you,” the IHC CJ said in response to the reply that the lawyer submitted on behalf of Khan.
IHC CJ Minallah noted that a political party should always believe in upholding the law and the constitution. “In the last 70 years, a common man has not been able to make it to the high courts and the Supreme Court.”
The IHC CJ said that he was “saddened” by the response that Khan submitted in response to the show-cause notice.
Justice Minallah said that he hoped that the PTI chairman would boost the court’s confidence, however, it should be noted that just like “the time that has passed by cannot come back, the words uttered through one’s tongue cannot be taken back”.
The court said that Khan is a popular leader and has a massive following, therefore, he should think before he speaks.
“I was expecting that he [Khan] might come to terms with the fact that he has done something wrong. A political leader has several followers, they should think before they speak.”
“Through your response, I feel that Imran Khan has not understood that he has done anything wrong,” the IHC CJ told the PTI chairman’s lawyer.
In the last three years — during PTI’s tenure — the IHC has raised the issue of torture without any fear, noting that the state has encouraged torture in the last 70 years.
“Torture, at any level, cannot be allowed. Is there a worse form of torture than making someone disappear?” the court asked, as the PTI keeps claiming that party leader Shahbaz Gill was tortured by the police.
Taking forward the PTI’s claims, Khan had earlier this month went on to criticise the additional district and sessions judge for rejecting his bail plea of Gill.
Justice Minallah asked who had control of Adiala Jail — where Gill was imprisoned for a few days. “If there’s even a small complaint of torture, then can the jail authorities imprison a person without medical examination?”
The IHC CJ went on to say that the PTI should look at the cases of journalists Asad Toor and Absar Alam. He added that during the last three years, the IHC sent such matters to the PTI’s federal cabinet.
“I wish they had raised their voice in this regard then.”
During the proceedings, Islamabad Advocate-General Jahangir Jadoon tried to speak but was stopped. “This matter is between the person who has allegedly committed contempt of court and the court.”
The IHC CJ then asked when the high court wrapped up the case of the alleged torture of Gill and when the speech was made. At this, Khan’s counsel said that the court concluded the case on August 22 and the PTI chairman delivered the speech on August 20.
“The matter was already pending in the IHC while he made the speech. You should read Firdous Ashiq Awan’s judgement. Under PECA ordinance, the person speaking against institutions will not even get bail for six months.”
This court, IHC CJ said, nullified the PECA ordinance and then a smear campaign was started against it. “However, the courts never care about criticism.”
Moving on, Justice Minallah said that Khan keeps asking why the courts were opened at 12am — during the National Assembly’s vote of no-confidence against the ex-premier in April.
“This court will remain open for the weak 24/7. However, the courts do not need to justify before anyone as to why they open and when.”
Khan offers to take back remarks against judge
A day earlier, Khan had petitioned the high court praying that the terrorism case against him be quashed and offered to take back his words against a district and sessions judge.