ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday “deeply regretted” the controversial remarks he uttered against an Islamabad sessions judge last month, as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) is all set to resume the contempt of court proceedings against the former prime minister today.

The PTI chief is facing a contempt case in the high court in light of his diatribe against Zeba Chaudhry — a district and sessions judge who sent PTI leader Shahbaz Gill on physical remand in a sedition case. During the previous hearing, the five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah had asked Imran Khan to submit his response in the case again as it termed his earlier response to the contempt notice “unsatisfactory”.

The revised response submitted to the high court by the PTI chief, however, stopped short of being an unconditional apology. In his reply, Mr Khan stated that “I have a profound regard and respect for this honourable court and its subordinate courts and judge”.

On August 31, the court had returned a reply filed by Mr Khan in the contempt case, deeming it ‘unsatisfactory’ and asking the PTI chief to submit a “well-considered” response.

Claims he didn’t know Shahbaz Gill’s remand was sub judice matter, in fresh reply to IHC

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 Mr Shahbaz Gill.

“The respondent never meant to hurt her 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.

Mr Khan 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 Shahbaz 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.”

Mr Khan 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.

In the reply, Mr Khan 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.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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