No reason to refuse ‘benefit of doubt’ to Imran Khan: IHC issues detailed verdict

December 01, 2022

In contempt of court case, five-judge bench says it is satisfied with PTI chairman’s explanation and apology

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Former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) Imran Khan, speaks during an anti-government protest rally in Islamabad on August 20, 2022. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued its detailed verdict in a contempt of court case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

In its detailed judgement, the five-member bench of the IHC, comprising then-IHC chief justice Athar Minallah, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Babar Sattar expressed satisfaction over the apology tendered by former prime minister Khan.

“There is no reason to further proceed with the contempt and therefore, we hereby discharge the respondent [Imran Khan] and consequently the show cause notice served upon him is withdrawn," Justice Minallah wrote in the 16-page verdict.

The ex-premier was facing contempt charges for his controversial remarks about Judicial Magistrate Zeba Chaudhry at a rally in Islamabad on August 20.

In its detailed verdict, the IHC, however, said that the language, tone, and context were indeed inappropriate and definitely not expected from a political leader who had recently served as the prime minister.

Referring to his apology, the five-judge bench said it was satisfied with the PTI chief’s explanation and apology but he was asked to submit an affidavit.

“The respondent [Khan] filed his affidavit reiterating therein what he had stated before us. He had also appeared in the court of the honourable judge with intent to tender his apology but she was on leaves."

"The conduct of the respondent, his explanation and apology, particularly his appearance in the court of the honourable judge, manifest that the regretful acknowledgement regarding the utterances made by him was bona fide."

“There is no reason to refuse extending the benefit of doubt to the respondent,” read the judgement.

However, Justice Kayani and Justice Sattar disagreed with the paragraph relating to the doubt of benefit to the respondent in the case.

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