IHC decides to discharge contempt notice against Imran Khan

Imran Khan demonstrated honesty and went to apologise to judge, says IHC CJ Athar Minallah

Awais Yousafzai

Former prime minister Imran Khan reaches the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to appear in a contempt case filed against him. -Screengrab
Former prime minister Imran Khan reaches the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to appear in a contempt case filed against him. -Screengrab

  • IHC discharges contempt notice against Imran Khan.
  • IHC CJ says court is satisfied with PTI chairman's conduct.
  • Court issues unanimous verdict.

In a major development, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday, in a unanimous verdict, decided to discharge the contempt notice against former prime minister Imran Khan.

A larger bench, headed by IHC Cheif Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, and Justice Babar Sattar,  heard the case today.

The former prime minister was facing contempt charges for his controversial remarks about Judicial Magistrate Zeba Chaudhry during a rally in Islamabad on August 20.

At the outset of today’s hearing, IHC CJ Minallah said that the bench has seen the affidavit submitted by Imran Khan.

"Imran Khan demonstrated honesty and went to apologise to the judge," he remarked, adding that discharging the contempt notice is the bench's unanimous decision.

Justice Minallah also stated that the court is also "satisfied” with Imran Khan's conduct.

While announcing the verdict, the court discharged the contempt of court notice against Imran Khan.

Following the court's verdict, the PTI chief said that the court has taken a "great decision".

'Won't go back to assembly': Imran Khan

Earlier, while speaking to the journalists outside the court, the PTI chief said that the party MNAs will not go back to the National Assembly.

The former premier, talking about the return of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz's passport, said that the nation is upset as these "thieves" are getting NRO II.

"It is proved that there is no rule of law in this country," he responded.

'Fitna has been forgiven': Maryam Nawaz

In response to the IHC verdict, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that "fitna" has been forgiven.

"The contempt was committed and in front of the entire world. So instead of saying that the case has been dismissed, it would be more appropriate to say that fitna has been forgiven," Maryam wrote on Twitter.

Reacting to the PML-N leader's Tweet, former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the case against Khan was based on a misunderstanding.

He said that the actual issue is about PML-N leaders' "properties worth billions of rupees" which is being forgiven — an indirect reference to Maryam Nawaz’s acquittal in Avenfield corruption reference by the IHC.

Imran Khan avoid's tendering unconditional apology 

At a hearing on September 22, Khan had surprisingly apologised before the IHC and assured the bench that he would not issue such a statement again — leading the court to delay his indictment.

However, Khan — for the third time — avoided tendering an unconditional apology in the contempt case as he submitted his response to IHC last week. 

In his latest response, although mentioning that he "might have crossed a red line while making a public speech", Khan fell short of apologizing for his remarks.

He stated that he assures the court that he is willing to explain and clarify before the female judge that neither he nor his party sought any action against her, and he would "never do anything in future" that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary.

The PTI chairman added that he is willing to take any further steps that the IHC deems necessary and that he never intended to interfere with the process of the court or impugn the dignity or independence of the judiciary.

The former chief executive said that he stands by his September 22 statement and "once again assure[s] this court that he would always abide by the afore-referred statement, in letter and spirit".

Earlier, the former premier reached the court of judge Zeba Chauhdry to personally apologise to her but she was on leave that day.