Tuesday, August 23, 2022
A larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued on Tuesday a show-cause notice to PTI Chairman Imran Khan after taking up contempt of court proceedings against him for threatening Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a public rally.
The bench comprised Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Babar Sattar and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.
The court summoned Imran Khan in personal capacity on August 31, and forwarded the case to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, seeking inclusion of more judges in the bench.
The PTI chair had staged a rally in the federal capital on August 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill after claims of torture in custody. He warned the Islamabad inspector-general and deputy inspector-general that he would “not spare” them, vowing to file cases against them for subjecting Gill to alleged inhuman torture.
Turning his guns towards the additional sessions judge, who sent Gill into physical remand on the police's request, Imran Khan had then said she [the judge] should brace herself for consequences.
This issue could be a threat for Khan, who has been campaigning for new elections since being forced to step down this year, since a conviction would disqualify him from standing for election, legal experts said.
“It is a criminal conviction,” a retired judge, Shaiq Usmani, told Geo News, adding that Khan could face six months in jail if convicted. “Due to it, he cannot contest any election for five years.”
The contempt issue is in addition to charges under an anti-terror law that police filed against Khan over what they said was a threat in his speech about Shahbaz Gill who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the military.
The use of anti-terrorism laws as the grounds for cases against political leaders is not uncommon in Pakistan, where Khan’s government also used them against opponents and critics.
His political party, the PTI, has dismissed the accusations against Khan as being politically motivated, saying they were being used to block him from leading anti-government rallies.
Earlier today, Islamabad Advocate-General Jahangir Khan Jadoon filed a miscellaneous application in the IHC, seeking permission to submit the concerned record to court.
In his application, the advocate-general pleaded to the court that he wanted to submit the record of anti-judiciary remarks and speeches made by Imran Khan in the past.
“I want to put Imran Khan’s video clip on record,” said the applicant.
He pleaded with the court to allow the petitioner to play the video showing the anti-judiciary and anti-state institution remarks made by the PTI chairman in the past.
The applicant requested the IHC to allow the material to be played in the courtroom through USB or other digital means.
With additional input from Reuters.