Monday Dec 05, 2022
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary-General Asad Umar to appear before the bench in response to his speech against the courts and judiciary on November 26, the day on which the party called off its long march.
Justice Jawad Hassan of LHC's Rawalpindi bench heard the petition today which was filed by an additional registrar of the court's Rawalpindi registry against the PTI leader's speech against the judiciary.
Rawalpindi deputy commissioner, CPO, and Advocate Faisal Chaudhry — to represent the defendant in the case — appeared before the court.
During the hearing, Justice Hassan remarked that Umar "targeted" the courts and judges in his November 26 speech.
"Asad Umar scandalised the courts in his speech during the November 26 rally and used contemptuous words against the judiciary," the court remarked.
It said that Umar's speech will be reviewed first.
"No institution or personality can be made controversial, under Article 14 of the Constitution. The court has the authority to punish under Article 204(B) of the Constitution," Justice Hassan remarked.
He summoned the PTI leader in person in the court on the next hearing and sought the video transcript of Umar's speech
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till December 7.
During the November 26 speech at PTI's long march in Rawalpindi, Umar said that the nation can see that the doors of justice are closed even in the Supreme Court.
"Judges were troubled when they had to change their route [due to road's blockage]," he said.
The PTI leader talked about Khan's assassination attempt, saying that the chairman of the biggest party was shot at, however, no FIR was registered.
"The nation does not see justice in this country," he had said.
PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan, along with his supporters and party leaders, started the "Azadi March" on October 28 against the incumbent government to force them to conduct early elections in the country.
The march started in Lahore and had to end in Islamabad, however, it was halted on November 3 after the party chief escaped an assassination attempt during a public gathering in Wazirabad.
The assassination bid left Khan injured in both legs, halting the much-touted anti-government march on the federal capital. He was moved to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore where he received treatment for bullet wounds and fractures in the legs.
The march was later resumed from the same point but PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi led it, as Khan announced that he would lead join the march from Rawalpindi. Since then, he was addressing the march participants via video link.
However, Khan called off his party's long march on November 26 and announced not to move forward to Islamabad. He also announced to dissolve all the assemblies, saying that he did not want to be a part of “this system”.