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LAHORE: Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday submitted before a Lahore High Court full bench his written reply to a contempt notice and reiterated that he had complete regard for the courts and always bowed down before the law.

Mr Iqbal appeared before the bench along with his counsel Azam Nazir Tarar who urged the bench to discharge the contempt proceedings against the former minister.

Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, head of the bench, told the former minister that he could have adopted legal course if he had any reservation about the remarks of the chief justice of Pakistan but he did not do so.

Mr Iqbal said he never thought of disgracing or disobeying the courts. He said being former interior minister he was conversant with some information about some foreign elements conspiring against the country’s stability. “We all have to work together for the stability of the country,” he added.

“Did you ever teach this lesson to other leaders of your party,” the judge asked the former minister referring to anti-judiciary speeches of Danyal Aziz, Talal Chaudhry, Nehal Hashmi and Maryium Aurangzeb.

“Do not punish me for the sins of others,” Mr Iqbal said to the bench and added that what he did was not intentional. The former minister also tendered his unconditional apology before the bench.

On the bench’s order, video of the former minister’s objectionable speech was also exhibited in the court on an electronic projector. The bench adjourned the hearing till June 11.

The bench had issued a notice to the former minister to explain ‘anti-judiciary’ remarks he made apparently in response to observations by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar about his (minister) involvement in appointment of a vice chancellor at a women university.

Meanwhile, the bench also directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to submit a detailed report on petitions against the anti-judiciary speeches by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and other leaders of PML-N.

The bench further sought copy of a Supreme Court order regarding pardon given to two of the contemners involved in staging an anti-judiciary rally in Kasur.

Counsel for Jamil Khan and Nasir Khan told the bench that Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had accepted unconditional apology of his clients and discharged the case as well as contempt proceedings against them. The bench directed the counsel to submit copy of the apex court’s decision on next hearing.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2018