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After ‘unsatisfactory’ response, IHC to indict Imran Khan in contempt of court case in two weeks



  • Islamabad High Court finds Imran Khan’s reply “unsatisfactory”.
  • IHC CJ Athar Minallah says court will indict Khan on September 22.
  • Khan submitted two responses, but didn’t issue unconditional apology.

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday decided to indict PTI Chairman Imran Khan on September 22 after the former prime minister did not submit an unconditional apology.

“Imran Khan’s response was unsatisfactory,” said IHC CJ Athar Minallah. CJ Minallah is heading a five-member bench — comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangir, and Justice Babar Sattar — that heard the case.

Once the court took a five-minute break after the reservation of the verdict, Khan got up and asked the court if he could speak. At this, the IHC CJ said that the court had heard his lawyers.

“I want to give my stance; the court can question me,” Khan said, but the court prefered to let it be and decided against listening to the PTI chairman.

The court had last month taken notice of the former prime minister’s speech at a public rally, where he allegedly threatened Islamabad additional sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry for extending PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s remand.

At the last hearing, the IHC chief justice had asked Khan to ensure that he submits a “well-considered” response in seven days to the show-cause notice, otherwise the court would have its way.

In his first response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the case, the PTI chairman did not apologise, offering, however, to withdraw his remarks “if they were inappropriate.”

In his latest response, which was a 19-page-long document, the PTI chairman seemingly opted to tell the court that it should discharge the notice based on his explanation and follow the Islamic principles of forgiveness.

However, in both responses, the PTI chairman did not offer an unconditional apology, which ultimately led to the court taking the decision despite amici curiae suggesting that the former prime minister be forgiven.

Today’s hearing

During the hearing, the IHC chastised the PTI chairman, saying that the former prime minister seeks to “constantly justify” his actions, in a case pertaining to contemptuous remarks he made about a magistrate in a rally speech.

“It appears you have no realisation of the gravity of the situation,” said IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Expressing his disappointment in the response given by Khan to the court, which was the second of its kind, the court asked: “Even after the court’s input on the matter, this is the response submitted?”

“It seems you want to fight this case […] and you have no realisation that the case against you is extremely seriously,” noted Justice Minallah.

Justice Sattar noted that “threatening” words were used by Khan in his speech, that he showed “no remorse”, and that recent statements also seem to suggest he has “no remorse”.

The court regretted that Khan, instead, is constantly attempting to “justify” his actions.

The PTI chair appeared before a five-member IHC bench amid strict security measures in place in and around the premises of the court, including the deployment of 788 cops under the supervision of two superintendents of police.

Moreover, the ways leading to the court have been barricaded with barbed wires, while the availability of tear gas shells and an armoured vehicle has also been ensured to deal with any untoward situation.

‘We want to wind up this matter’

At the outset of the hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyer Hamid Khan started arguments, saying that he agrees with the observation given by the court at the last hearing and wants to put precise requests before the court.

“We want to wind up this matter,” he said, informing the court that a detailed reply has been submitted.

The lawyer contended that the IHC referred to two verdicts of the Supreme Court, which were issued in the cases of Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry.

“Imran Khan’s case doesn’t fall under these two verdicts. The two cases were totally different from that of Imran Khan,” he maintained.

At this, CJ Minallah remarked that there are three types of contempt of court, described in the Firdous Ashiq Awan case which was a matter of scandalising the court.

“There is civil contempt of court, the second is judicial contempt and the third criminal contempt,” he said.

‘Criminal contempt’

The IHC CJ went on to say that action under criminal contempt of court wasn’t taken in Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry cases.

“This [Imran Khan’s case] is criminal contempt which is related to an under-trial case,” he added.

CJ Minallah said without mentioning Imran Khan that [PTI] supporters were provoked against a female judge.

He said that the court has clearly informed the defence about the gravity of the matter.

“What if anything happens to the judge?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Justice Sattar remarked how a political leader could say that he would take action against a judge while speaking at a public gathering.

“There is a separate forum for an action against a judge but that’s not a public rally,” he said.

At this, Hamid Khan, Imran’s counsel, maintained that the PTI chair missed the word “legal” while saying he’ll take action against the judge.

“Legal action also translates into a complaint,” he said.

Responding to the argument, Justice Sattar asked how a leader could say that he would take “legal action” against a judge.

“There is a mechanism for legal action against a judge,” he said.

‘Red line’

Declaring subordinate judiciary a ‘red line’, IHC CJ Minallah warned the PTI chairman that threatening a district judge is a more serious offence than a Supreme Court justice.

Expressing his displeasure over the reply submitted by Khan, the CJ asked can the former prime minister give an excuse for his ignorance.

“The offence is very serious which has not been realised,” remarked Justice Minallah, saying they only have to look at the law.

At this, Hamid said that they have realised, hence, they mentioned it in their written response.

The judge asked if their reply was appropriate in light of the SC’s verdicts.

No one can pressurise the court, observed the CJ.

Defending his client, Hamid clarified that Khan wrote in his reply that he respects the district and the apex court. He maintained that his client had made the statement due to the alleged torture of Shahbaz Gill.

Speech ‘different’ from Nehal Hashmi

Then, Khan requested his counsel to seek the court’s permission for letting him speak.

“Imran Khan wants to give an explanation of his speech from the day before yesterday,” Hamid said, adding that the reference given in the court regarding his speech was based on misreporting.

The IHC CJ said it would be played later in the courtroom. He added that in PML-N leader Nehal Hashmi’s case, despite him not naming any judge, he was convicted.

“However, Imran Khan’s speech is completely different,” Hamid told the bench.

At this, IHC CJ Minallah said that threatening a district judge is a much more serious offence than threatening a top court judge. “Had you issued such statements against us, we would have never taken notice of that.”

Khan’s counsel said that he had never opined that lower courts deserved lesser respect, rather that he respected all the courts.

Then Justice Sattar asked that if Khan does not like the judgement of this court, then will he start issuing such statements against the bench. “If you don’t like order, then will you keep responding in this manner? Does only your lawyer understand what you said and no one else?”

Justice Sattar said that maybe Khan does not understand the gravity of the consequences as he submitted a weak response.

IHC CJ also voiced Justice Sattar, saying that a huge responsibility falls on the leaders of political parties as they have a massive following.

‘Propaganda’ on social media

Hamid then told the court that the SC accepted Khan’s apology with an open heart. He added that today’s case and the case of 2014 are no different and the IHC should discharge this case.

Khan’s counsel also said that politicians utter words mistakenly.

At this, Justice Tariq Jahangiri said that was Khan made aware of the fact that the medical board had rejected all the claims of torture against Gill. The case was already being heard at the IHC.

Another lawyer from the PTI Shoaib Shaheen said that the jail superintendent and medical officer confirmed that there were marks on Gill’s body.

Hamid also told the court that his client raises his voice for other people and women as well, but his statements are taken in a negative context.

The IHC CJ then reiterated that this was an issue of the parties and their leaders that such political isolation is taking place in the country. “Has any political leader stopped their follower [from propaganda]?”

The CJ lamented that baseless propaganda against people and the judiciary is disseminated on social media, adding that it was the fault of political leaders that such a situation had arisen.

Khan ‘repeatedly committed contempt of court’

During the proceedings, Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali said that Imran Khan was trailed in a contempt court in 2014.

The same charges were levelled against him and the same procedure was adopted, however, he was pardoned later. Imran Khan did not submit his affidavit in the case, the attorney general said, adding that his reply has no value.

Referring to his speeches in public rallies, Ausaf said that he named the female judge even in his party’s second public meeting.

Imran Khan had submitted an affidavit in the SC, assuring the court that he will not make derogatory remarks against the judiciary in the future.

“One again, the person standing in the court under the same charges,” the AGP said and asked if he think that he would be pardoned again and again.

The suspect involved in the contempt of court case did not express regret for his derogatory remarks, he added.

Amicus curiae asks to forgive Khan

While assisting the court, amicus curiae Makhdoom Ali Khan said that laws related to contempt of court are not meant to protect judges. “This law is concerned with the obstruction of justice,” he said.

When the CJ Minallah referenced the suspension of former US president Donald Trump’s Twitter account, Makhdoom Ali said that Trump’s case was not related to contempt of court. “The account was probably suspended because Trump may have insulted Congress.”

He added that the US president had termed the court’s ruling the “worst decision”. Over there, the judiciary showed reluctance and took another way.

In response, the CJ said that Trump’s account was suspended in the United States because he was inciting the public through his tweets.

Makhdoom replied: “You had said it yourself that there should be no restriction on freedom of expression.” He also suggested a case related to the contempt of court against Imran Khan should be dismissed.

Upon hearing this, Justice Babar Sattar said: “Since you are saying that a political leader should be judged in the context of the prevalent political situation, then what will become of the principle that everyone is equal?”

Makhdoom responded by saying that the court took such steps to prevent the obstruction of justice.

CJ Minallah then asked Makhdoom whether the answers provided by Khan were satisfactory.

“Other leaders of the same party also spoke against this court, but we don’t care about these things. Therefore, we dismissed the pleas of contempt of court against them,” the CJ said.

Makhdoom said that when the former premier issued a threat to a judge, a five-member bench was formed. “This itself is a very important matter regarding the subordinate courts”.

The chief justice said that had something been said about him, he would not have taken notice of that. “But right now, the court is concerned with the delivery of justice”.

Makhdoom maintained that the cases in this court were closer to politics, so, whenever party a decision was announced against a party, the court was subjected to criticism.

“The court has to make sure that no leader is cornered,” Makhdoom Ali said.

Upon hearing this remark, Justice Sattar asked whether the court will have to see the stature of the leader concerned and the impact the decision will have on the political milieu of the country.

“Are you saying that the courts act like puppets in making such decisions?” he questioned.

“I can never use words like puppet [for a court]” Makhdoom responded.

The CJ then told Makhdoom that after the contempt of court proceedings, the conduct that should have been demonstrated was not seen.

“Don’t be afraid of social media. Just tell me what you recommend?” the CJ asked Makhdoom. “The political leadership is responsible for what is happening on social media. Therefore, the leaders must train their followers.”

CJ Minallah added that since social media has no credibility, it should not be feared at all.

Makhdoom Ali said: “This was perhaps the first case of its kind related to the subordinate judiciary as a five-member larger bench was formed just to review the statement of a political leader.

“Do you want us to accept the justification presented [by Khan]”, the CJ asked Makhdoom. “They [the PTI] have not realised the seriousness of the matter yet.”

“Imran Khan expressed remorse and pleaded for the show-cause notice served to him to be discharged, Makhdoom Ali said. “If the court decides, this case will not be taken further.”

Upon this, the IHC CJ said: “We have nothing to say. The Supreme Court’s decisions are binding on us.”

‘I will be more dangerous if sent to jail’

Before appearing for the hearing, the PTI chairman told journalists that he would become “more dangerous” if the government decides to send him behind bars.

“They have been trying to [put me in jail for long now]. I will be more dangerous if they send me to jail,” Khan said, as he smiled, showing confidence ahead of the hearing.

The PTI chairman wondered who did the authorities fear as they had deployed a heavy contingent of police outside the IHC.

He also refused to comment on whether he would apologise to the court or not.

Plea seeking dismissal

Just hours before the hearing, Khan filed a new miscellaneous plea seeking permission to submit written arguments.

In his fresh plea, Khan argued that the high court cannot exercise suo moto jurisdiction as per the Constitution. The arguments on the inadmissibility of the contempt case should be kept on record.

“The written arguments will also be explained in the oral arguments during the course of the proceedings,” read the plea.


Imran Khan surpasses political rivals in popularity survey: Miftah




  • Miftah, Abbasi, Khokhar testing waters for launch of a political party.
  • Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two.
  • There is space for launching a new political party, they believe. 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had surpassed all political leaders in popularity in a recent opinion poll, The News reported on Wednesday.

Miftah along with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Mustafa Khokhar, who had earlier come up with the idea of seminars on “Reimagining Pakistan”, is also presently testing waters for the launch of a political party.

Miftah told The News no decision has been taken as yet, but presently they are seriously thinking on the issue.

He disclosed that they had also done a public opinion survey in July this year, which showed Imran way ahead of all in popularity.

What Abbasi said about his political future in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and about the need for a new political party is part of the trio’s strategy to test the waters before reaching a final decision.

Abbasi, Miftah, and Mustafa are presently discussing the launch of a political party with different people besides encouraging discussion on the issue in the media and social media to assess whether it is a doable option. 

Among the three, Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two who are not fully clear as yet whether they should do it or not.

All three, according to Miftah, agree there is space for launching a new political party in the present political situation. The question, he said, remains whether they have the capacity to attract people to join a new political party.

Through a leading entity, conducting public opinion polls, Miftah said they have also got a survey done to assess the popularity of different political parties and leaders. Their reading of the survey report made them reach the conclusion of a need for a new political party.

The three believe a significant number of voters, who are presently inclined towards Imran Khan and PTI for their rejection of PML-N, can be attracted by a new political party because neither the staunch supporters of Imran Khan nor of Nawaz would vote for any other political party.

In view of the post-May 9 difficult situations faced by Imran Khan and his party, the PTI, it is believed the new political party may attract significant voters (not the staunch supporters) of the PTI, who would never vote for PMLN or other political party in Punjab.

Among the three, Khokhar, left the PPP after the party’s leadership objected to his certain statements criticising powerful quarters. Miftah got the cold shoulder from the PML-N top leadership for publicly defending his economic solutions, which are different from that of Ishaq Dar’s.

Miftah also criticised Dar’s policies as finance minister and argued that he too was criticised as finance minister by Dar. However, his criticism of Dar’s policies has made him an alien to Sharifs.

Abbasi has started distancing himself from the PML-N top leadership for the last several months. The PML-N top leadership was keen not to let Abbasi drift from them, but the latter sounded dissatisfied with the politics of all the three leading political parties including PML-N.

Abbasi also did not show his keenness in the PML-N ticket for the next elections, while he had already declined to continue as senior vice-president of the party after Maryam Nawaz was announced as senior vice-president and chief organiser of PML-N.

On the direction of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam had visited Abbasi at the latter’s residence in Islamabad to convince him not to leave the office of senior vice-president of PMLN. Shahid had politely declined. Now, he appears to be quitting the PML-N anytime.

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What will happen when Nawaz Sharif lands in Pakistan?




  • Nawaz Sharif to attend rally on Oct 21, appear before court the next day.
  • “Consultations being held on seeking protective bail from another court.”
  • Dastagir adds that Nawaz can get nation out of difficulties even today. 

LAHORE: The legal minds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are holding consultations on challenges party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif faces upon his return to the country, it emerged on Tuesday.

Speaking to Geo News, former federal minister Khurram Dastagir said that Nawaz will go to attend a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan after landing at the Lahore airport on October 21 and will appear before a court the next day.

However, he added, the party is holding discussions on legal matters for the intervening period between his arrival and appearance before the respective court and consultations are being held on seeking protective bail from another court [to avoid arrest].

The former prime minister has been in London since November 2019 after he left the country for medical treatment. He was serving a jail term in corruption cases when the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed him to seek treatment from abroad.

On Monday, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti created a stir when he said that the PML-N supremo would be arrested upon return but backtracked his remarks following a strong response from the party.

The PML-N is preparing for a grand reception for Nawaz and plans to hold a massive rally of 1 million people in their stronghold — Lahore.

Dastagir, while responding to a question, said that the former premier had gone abroad on the permission granted to him by two courts and would enter with their approval.

“An appeal is pending before a court and Nawaz Sharif will pursue it upon return,” he said.

The former minister added that people should understand that those responsible for the corruption are those who have been doing political engineering since 2014.

“The situation was bad in 2013 but Nawaz Sharif brought the country out of the worst situation and even today, he can get the nation out of these difficulties.”

To a question, Dastagir said the 15-party coalition is responsible for the successes and failures of the 16-month government.

“PML-N’s 16-month performance is a story of pulling the country out of crises,” he added.

When asked about the reports of the formation of a new political party, he responded, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should have told that there is peace in Karachi today and credit goes to the PML-N.”

Referring to the spike in militancy in the country, the PML-N leader said the terrorism that is increasing today is because of Imran Khan and Arif Alvi who offered amnesty to the Taliban in 2021.

About a rumoured “secret” meeting of Shehbaz Sharif earlier this month, he said, “I do not know about the meeting in Gujranwala, I cannot deny or confirm it.”

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Senate committee recommends ECP hold polls within 90 days




  • Committee recommends ECP announce polls schedule at earliest.
  • ECP official says preliminary delimitations will be published on Sep 27.
  • About 60 days are required for filing and disposal of representations, ECP.

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct elections within 90 days by reducing the time for filing representations for delimitation from 30 to seven days, The News reported.

In a meeting presided over by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider, the committee also drew the electoral body’s attention towards its constitutional obligation of holding polls in the context of the National Assembly’s dissolution.

The Senate panel recommended that the commission announce the schedule of the election at the earliest to ensure clarity on the uncertainty around conducting elections.

Briefing the committee on the polls-related matters, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the preliminary delimitations will be published on September 27. 

However, he explained a period of approximately 60 days will be required for filing and disposal of representations.

He told the committee that some 91,809 polling stations were to be established out of which 49,919 had been designated as sensitive or highly sensitive. 

He pointed out that out of the 49,919 polling stations, 17,411 had been categorised as highly sensitive and another 32,508 as sensitive while 41,809 (around 45%) were designated as normal.

He contended that the general election will encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial assemblies’ constituencies. Moreover, he noted around 1 million polling staff will be required for the upcoming general election.

The committee inquired about the methods for the consolidation of results. The secretary of ECP said electronic devices having ECP-developed software will be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to returning officers and software was also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections.

Regarding the use of funds for development schemes, Senator Haider emphasised that funds should be allocated to the approved schemes. The secretary ECP explained that there was no ban on development schemes approved prior to August 15.

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