PTI chief Imran Khan on Friday appeared before an Islamabad sessions court to personally apologise to Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry.
Last month, the Islamabad High Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Imran over his diatribe against Judge Chaudhry — who had approved PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s physical remand in a sedition case — at a public rally in Islamabad’s F-9 Park on Aug 20.
The next hearing is scheduled for October 3 (Monday).
Today, Imran and his lawyers appeared in Judge Chaudhry's court. However, the court reader, Choudhry Yasir Ayaz, and stenographer Farooq told the PTI chief that the judicial magistrate was on leave.
Imran then left a message for the judge with Ayaz.
"I have come to apologise to judicial magistrate Zeba Chaudhry," he could be heard saying to the court reader in a video shared by the PTI on Twitter.
"You have to tell Madam Zeba Chaudhry that Imran Khan had visited and wanted to apologise if his words hurt her sentiments," he said. The PTI chief then left the court.
Bail in Section 144 case confirmed
Earlier in the day, a district and sessions court in Islamabad confirmed Imran's interim bail in the case registered against him on charges of violating Section 144.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against Imran last month on charges of violating Section 144 (ban on public gatherings exceeding four persons) by holding the rally in the capital on August 20.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal took up the plea of the PTI chief on Friday amid tight security.
During the hearing, Imran's lawyer Babar Awan said he had recently found out that Imran had been booked under charges of behest. "Has a statement been recorded in this regard?"
At this, the session judge asked if the investigating officer in the case had written a statement on this. "No he did not," the prosecution replied, adding that they only had the statement of the officer who had issued the notification.
Here, Awan said that this was the 21st FIR against Imran. "Even if the investigation officer records his statement now, it won't be acceptable," he contended.
Subsequently, the court confirmed the PTI chief's interim bail against surety bonds worth Rs5,000.
The decision to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran was taken by Justice Aamer Farooq while hearing a petition challenging Gill’s police remand. The court summoned Imran on August 31 and subsequently 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 submitted a fresh reply in the court. 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”.
On September 8, the IHC decided to Indict Imran, once again calling his response “unsatisfactory”.
However, at the next hearing on September 22, Imran offered to tender an apology to Judge Zeba and escaped the indictment.
Following his statement in the court, the larger bench hearing the case said: "We are, prima facie, satisfied with the apology rendered by the respondent. Let him file an affidavit for consideration of this court before the next date is fixed."