IHC to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran for controversial remarks regarding sessions judge
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday decided to initiate contempt proceedings against PTI chairman Imran Khan for passing controversial remarks regarding female sessions court judge Zeba Chaudhry.
At a rally in Islamabad’s F-9 park on Saturday, Imran had threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police and declared: “We won’t spare you.” He then warned the judiciary against its “biased” attitude towards his party, saying that it should brace itself for the consequences.
The PTI chariman also warned additional district and sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved two-day physical remand of Imran’s aide Shahbaz Gill’s on the request of the capital police, that she would also face dire consequences.
During the hearing today, Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Khan Jadoon raised the matter in court and urged the judges to take notice of Imran’s comments.
However, they replied: “That is a separate matter. We will see what will be done on it.”
Later in the day, after consultation with other judges, the court decided to issue a contempt notice to Imran.
A larger bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Babar Sattar and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the case which is expected to be take up tomorrow (Tuesday).
The court’s notice comes a day after Imran was booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism) regarding his comments at his Islamabad rally on Saturday.
The first information report (FIR) registered against the PTI chief, registered at the Margalla police station, Imran had “terrorised and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional sessions judge” in his address.
The FIR also requested that legal action be pursued against Imran and an “exemplary punishment” be meted out.
Subsequently, the PTI chief approached IHC today seeking protective bail. A two-member bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Babar Sattar took up the petition and accepted Imran’s request, barring the police from arresting him till Thursday (August 25).
Govt to try and get Imran’s bail rejected: Sanaullah
Meanwhile, in an interview to Geo TV anchorperson Hamid Mir today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that if Imran is granted bail by the court, the government would try and get it rejected.
“We will ensure that he is arrested from the court,” he asserted. “And I believe that the high court will conduct a thorough inquiry against him for threatening the sessions court judge.”
Answering a question regarding the jail Imran would be sent to, the minister said that the PTI chief would be sent to whichever jail he wanted to stay in. “We can also declare any area in Islamabad sub jail.
“Even if he goes to Punjab jail, where he may get benefits […] I am sure he won’t be able to stay there with all the facilities,” he added.
SCBA welcomes IHC’s decision
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), in a statement later today, welcomed the IHC’s decision saying that the way in which the female additional session judge’s name was hurled publicly was not only offensive and derogatory but also “undermined the dignity and prestige of the entire judicial system”.
“His [Imran’s] such conduct also exposed how much he cares about the respect and reverence of honourable judges.”
The statement read that the apex bar of the country could not turn a blind eye towards such malicious acts, which undermined the dignity, decorum and prestige of the judiciary.
“Time and again, this association has maintained that everyone is free to express his/her disagreement with judgment but no one is free to harm the respect and dignity of judges,” it said.
The SCBA also stated that it would not allow anyone to sabotage the dignity and respect of the judiciary, adding that such contemptuous acts should be dealt with iron-fist.
Imran criticised for his remarks
Prior to the registration of the FIR, Sanaullah had said the government was holding legal consultations on whether to file a separate case against the PTI chairperson for his “provocative speech” on Saturday or nominate him in a previous case.
“This is all happening in continuation — from a campaign after Lasbela incident when six army officers were martyred followed by Gill’s attempt to incite army ranks to go against their top command and then Imran threatening a woman judge and police officials for performing their duties as per the law,” the minister had said.
The minister had also denied the PTI’s allegations that Gill was being subjected to custodial torture.
Earlier, Sanaullah had also tweeted that Imran would have to face the law for “threatening and hurling abuse” at the magistrate and police officers.
The minister had said the PTI chief will not be allowed “to challenge the writ of the state by inciting rebellion”.
Meanwhile, several other leaders from the ruling alliance, including Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, also condemned Imran’s remarks against the judge and police.