Contemptuous remarks

A five-member bench of the IHC unanimously agreed that Imran Khan will be indicted on September 22


September 09, 2022

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has hit his elbow in contempt. A five-member bench of the Islamabad High Court unanimously agreed that the former prime minister will be indicted on September 22 on charges of contempt of court. These proceedings against him are for his controversial remarks about a female judge, who had approved a party leader’s physical remand in a sedition case. Mr Khan, in a public rally, castigated her by name and vowed to put her in dock if he returned to power. Then onwards it was a snowball reaction as many were convinced that he should stand trial for his irresponsible jibe and attempt to threaten judicial bureaucracy.

Thursday’s hearing made it clear that the honourable bench has taken a serious note of the event. Yet, it was full of compassion as it heard the counsel eloquently. This is why the Justices repeatedly sought opinions from three of the amicus curiae as to why the court should not go ahead with indictment against Mr Khan. The resource persons, nonetheless, prayed leniency and did not press on contempt charges, though. This made the proceedings a predictable affair, irrespective of the fact that the Attorney General was vehement that the accused should not be spared.

The court exhibited magnanimity by stating on several occasions that the charges could be set aside, if he tenders an apology. Though the counsel for Mr Khan assured the court that his client will refrain from such an attitude, the court maintained that the reply is unsatisfactory. At one stage, Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that PTI chairman’s replies to the court appeared to be justifying contempt of court. The onus of avoiding formal indictment and framing of charges is now on the accused.

The PTI chief has unnecessarily reached this stage. His acumen is up for a litmus test. Rather than dragging feet on his remarks, he must have submitted his sincere apology. And that is what he is required to do, and must do in public sanity by bowing before the law.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2022.

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