LHC dismisses contempt notice after Asad Umar’s unconditional apology

Shabbir Dar

PTI leader Asad Umar addressing a press conference outside the Supreme Court. — AFP/File
PTI leader Asad Umar addressing a press conference outside the Supreme Court. — AFP/File

  • LHC's Rawalpindi bench had issued notices to Asad Umar.
  • Umar says his aim was not to target courts or judges.
  • If I crossed any line with my statements then I apologise, Umar tells court.

RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday discharged a contempt notice issued to PTI Secretary General Asad Umar after he tendered an unconditional apology to the court for his "scandalous" speech against the judiciary.

“My aim was not to target the courts or the judges,” the PTI leader told the LHC Rawalpindi bench at the start of the hearing. He added that PTI respects the judiciary and will keep on respecting it.

“My speech did not mention any judge,” said Asad Umar

However, Justice Jawad Hassan told the PTI leader that he has the videos of Umar’s statement and does not wish to play them in court.

He remarked that the problem was not of the contempt of court but the allegations against institutions and their representatives.

“We are fully aware of what you said. Court has your video statement, you know what you said in your speech,” Justice Hassan told Asad Umar. He added that the courts allowed the party to hold its long march but they targeted the courts.

The judge also told the PTI leader that Article 50 of the Constitution allows right to movement and Article 60 right to democracy but not criticism of institutions.

“If I crossed any line with my statements then I apologise,” Umar responded.

After the apology, the benched disposed of the contempt case against the PTI leader.

Contempt notice

On Monday, LHC’s Rawalpindi bench had asked the PTI leader to appear in court in response to his speech against the courts and judiciary on November 26, the day on which the party called off its long march.

The orders were issued on a petition which was filed by an additional registrar of the court's Rawalpindi registry against the PTI leader's speech.

During the hearing, Justice Hassan had 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 noted.

It also said that the court would review Umar's speech.

"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 had remarked.

What did Umar say?

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.