pakistan
Friday Nov 18 2022
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Contempt case: SC gives Imran Khan time to reply on interior ministry's evidence

PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks during an interview in this undated photo. — Screengrab/Twitter
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks during an interview in this undated photo. — Screengrab/Twitter

  • Interior ministry submits video, documentary evidence.
  • "We are not issuing any order at the moment," says CJP. 
  • Court adjourns hearing till next week. 


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday gave time to PTI chief Imran Khan to submit his reply in response to the evidence provided by the Ministry of Interior against him regarding the May 25 events

During today's hearing, the interior ministry furnished video and documentary evidence in the court on the former's premier reply that he submitted on November 16 — claiming that he wasn't aware of the court's orders.

Presiding over the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the apex court shows restraint in using its powers relating to contempt, saying that the court only takes action when its orders are violated. 

"We are not issuing any order at the moment," said CJP Bandial. He said that Khan has submitted a detailed reply and hoped that it is correct and based on facts. 

Interior ministry's lawyer Salman Aslam Butt said that the ministry has submitted evidence along with a USB. He said that a copy of the ministry's reply has been given to Khan's counsel. 

At this, the former premier's lawyer Salman Akram Raja said that he did not get the USB. 

Butt said that the USB proves that the PTI's long march was headed toward D Chowk on May 25. He said that it also proves that the mobile service was not down that day and that the leaders continued to post and tweet on social media from the container. 

Justice Bandial said that the apex court is careful about its orders being violated. 

"You have presented an argument that the court order was spread in the country through media and social media," said CJP. At this, Khan's lawyer said that the court order went viral on social media after some time.

CJP Bandial said that Khan announced going to D Chowk 40 minutes after the court order. 

Justice Mazahar Naqvi inquired what will the call detail record (CDR) reveal in the case the mobile phone is lying somewhere else. To this, the ministry's counsel replied that the CDR will reveal the location from where the phone was operated. 

"If the court deems it appropriate, it should obtain CDR," said Butt, adding that the evidence submitted clearly shows the mobile phone in Khan's hand. 

The court also said that the interior ministry submitted additional content along with a miscellaneous reply including screenshots and tweets which were checked by the court. 

The court ordered the ministry to provide a copy of the reply to Imran Khan, Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudary. It also said to give a copy of the USB to Khan and other parties. 

The court adjourned the hearing till next week. 

Imran Khan's reply 

The PTI chief, in his reply to the Supreme Court, said he did not disobey the order deliberately and that he was unaware of the order related to the May 25 events.

"We regret taking this step unintentionally," said the PTI chief, adding that the May 25 call for a peaceful protest was against the incumbent government's behaviour.

He blamed the federal government and the provincial government of Punjab for causing chaos in the city.

He added that he was "never informed or led to believe that this Honourable Court had, through its verbal order of 06:05pm on 25.05.2022, barred peaceful political gatherings at any part of the city apart from the ground between the Sector G-9 and H-9."

Plea

On October 13, the federal government filed a contempt of court plea against Khan in the Supreme Court over his long march call to Islamabad.

In its petition, the federal government told the apex court that the PTI chief is making announcements of marching towards Islamabad, which was a violation of a court order.

“Imran Khan is making announcements to attack Islamabad,” says the plea. It urged the top court to direct the PTI chief to ensure the implementation of its orders related to protests and sit-ins.

The petition was filed by the interior ministry on behalf of the federal government.