Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday submitted a reply to the Supreme Court in connection with a contempt petition filed against him by the government, saying that he was not aware of any undertaking submitted by his party on his behalf that the May 25 “Azadi March” would not proceed to D-Chowk.

The federal government, through the interior ministry, had filed a petition against Imran two weeks ago for allegedly flouting the top court’s May 25 order regarding the party’s march.

The court had taken up the plea for hearing on Oct 26 wherein it rejected the government request to issue a show-cause notice to Imran for allegedly violating court orders and instead sought a reply from him on the matter before deciding on issuing him a notice.

In the last hearing, the additional attorney general had reminded the court that PTI lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhry had assured that no roads would be blocked and the protest would be confined to the designated area, but the commitment was reneged upon.

In response, the CJP had observed that there was no mention of the lawyers’ assurance in writing anywhere, adding that it would be appropriate to seek a reply from those who had given the assurance.

However, in his reply filed today, Imran expressed his lack of knowledge of any assurance reportedly made on his behalf to the Supreme Court regarding the protest.

It is pertinent to mention here that on May 25, Imran had called off the PTI protest near 9th Avenue in Islamabad before reaching D-Chowk. However, his supporters had already reached the site prior to him calling the march off.

In a written response today, he stated that he was not aware of any statement or undertaking that had been made before the court on behalf of the senior leadership of the PTI or on his behalf during the course of the May 25 long march, nor of the details, including with regard to the D Chowk area issued by the SC.

Imran further maintained that there was “no question” of him “knowingly violating an undertaking” made before the court or not following its order.

The PTI chief also sought time till November 3 to file a detailed response into the matter.

Babar Awan requests court to remove his name from case

Meanwhile, Imran’s lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Fareed requested the court today to remove their names from the case.

In an application submitted today, Awan said that he was not nominated in any of the investigation reports prepared by the police or intelligence agencies.

The lawyer claimed that the allegations levelled against them by the government prosecutor were “baseless” and didn’t hold any value.

“In the court order dated May 25, the words ‘senior leadership of the PTI’ were used. According to it, I was told to hold a meeting of Imran with the interior secretary and deputy commissioner of Attock.

“However, despite court orders, the government officials did not show up for the meeting,” Awan said.

For his part, advocate Faisal Fareed said that he was a lawyer, not a respondent in the case and hence his name should be removed.

The petition

The federal government, through the interior ministry, had approached the Supreme Court last week for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Imran for violating its May 25 order, wherein the PTI was restricted from holding its ‘Azadi March’ near Peshawar Mor between the H-9 and G-9 areas of Islamabad. However, Imran and his supporters made their way towards D-Chowk in alleged contravention of court orders.

According to the petition, the apex court had in its May order directed the PTI to hold a gathering on a ground located between sectors H-9 and G-9 in view of the categorical assurances on behalf of the party’s top leadership and their counsel that their rally would not cause any inconvenience or blockage of the Srinagar Highway or trouble the public and that the rally would be conducted in a peaceful and lawful manner.

Despite these assurances, the PTI top leadership, acting in blatant disregard for the directions, exhorted its supporters to reach D-Chowk, falsely professing that the court had allowed the march without any conditions, it added.

The contempt petition pleaded for the implementation of the apex court order for the protection of the fundamental rights of the public, particularly residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

It also requested that the Supreme Court should also issue comprehensive guidelines for all future protests to be held in the federal capital that should include prior intimation of the date, selection of the venue, assurance of not causing any hindrance to public life and a commitment to ensure that the protesters would not cause any damage to public or private property.

The plea also claimed the tone and tenor adopted by the PTI chairman in his speeches against the incumbent rulers and state institutions was “highly inflammatory”, aimed at encouraging distrust and contempt and instigating revolt.

This had caused significant alarm not only among the public, but also the international community and investors regarding the impact of this purported ‘jihad’, the petition claimed, adding the past conduct of the party head, especially the events of May 25 and his violation of court orders, his alleged encouragement of destruction of public and private property and disruption of law and order, merited strong directions from the apex court about his upcoming protests.

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