Islamabad court grants interim bail to Imran Khan in case linked to remarks against judge

Published October 6, 2022
<p>PTI chairman Imran Khan appears before an Islamabad sessions court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV</p>

PTI chairman Imran Khan appears before an Islamabad sessions court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

An Islamabad district and sessions court granted on Thursday interim bail to PTI chairman Imran Khan in a case linked to his controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry at an August 20 public rally.

Last week, Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim issued arrest warrants for Imran on September 30.

After the Islamabad High Court had struck down terror charges from the case registered against Imran, the case was transferred to a sessions court and the PTI chief had not obtained his bail from there.

Subsequently, the PTI chief approached IHC on October 2 with a plea for pre-arrest bail. The court accepted the plea and instructed Imran to appear before a lower court before October 7.

Earlier today, the former prime minister arrived at the court amid elaborate security along with his lawyer Babar Awan.

During the brief hearing, Civil Judge Kamran Basharat inquired if this was Imran’s first bail application to which Awan replied in the affirmative. “Hearing in another case has been fixed for October 13.”

The court then granted interim bail to the PTI chief against surety bonds worth Rs50,000 and issued notices to the police for the next hearing.

In a media talk outside of court, Awan said that all the cases lodged against Imran were “false” and a “conspiracy by the imported government”.

“If there is one person in Pakistan who can bring changes to the Constitution, it is Imran Khan,” the lawyer claimed, adding that the existing parliament “came through a cipher”.

“Soon, we will come back to the parliament with a two-thirds majority,” Awan added.

Contempt case

The decision to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran was taken by the IHC’s Justice Aamer Farooq on August 22 while hearing a petition challenging Gill’s police remand. The court had summoned Imran on August 31 and subsequently issued him a show-cause notice.

A day before the hearing, the former prime minister had submitted a reply before the IHC wherein he had expressed his willingness to “take back” his words about Judge Chaudhry if they were “regarded as inappropriate”. He had 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 another reply to the court. In the revised response, Imran stopped short of rendering an unconditional apology.

On September 8, the IHC decided to indict Imran, once again calling his response “unsatisfactory”.

However, at the next hearing on September 22, when it was expected that charges would be framed against the PTI chief, Imran had offered to tender an apology to Judge Chaudhry and escaped the indictment.

Following his statement in the court, the larger bench hearing the case had said that it was “satisfied” with the apology and asked the PTI chief to submit an affidavit.

Prior to submitting the affidavit, Imran on Friday appeared before an Islamabad sessions court to personally apologise to Judge Chaudhry, but his apology was left hanging as the judge was on leave.

Meanwhile, in his affidavit, Imran said he had “realised during these (contempt) proceedings before the honourable court that he might have crossed a red line”. However, he added, he never intended to threaten Judge Chaudhry and “there was no intention behind the statement to take any action other than legal action”.

He said he wanted to assure the IHC that he was willing to explain and clarify before Judge Chaudhry that“ neither he nor his party seeks/sought any action“ against her and he was willing to apologise to her “if she got an impression that the deponent (Imran) had crossed a line”.

He also expressed his willingness to take any further steps that the IHC “deems necessary and appropriate for the satisfaction of the honourable court that he never intended to interfere in the process of the court or impugn the dignity or independence of the judiciary”.

At the most recent hearing on Monday (October 3), the IHC dismissed the show-cause notice issued to Imran, effectively ending contempt proceedings against the PTI chief.

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