'Good to see you': CJP Bandial clarifies his cordial greeting to Imran Khan after backlash

CJP Bandial says he is being criticised for greeting Imran Khan; however, he uses "good to see you" phrase often

Maryam Nawaz
An undated image of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. — Supreme Court website
An undated image of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. — Supreme Court website

  • CJP Bandial says he uses "good to see you" phrase often in court.
  • "I hold everyone in high esteem as courtesy is important," he adds.
  • Govt calls out CJP for his way of greeting a "corruption accused."

The country has witnessed a heated debate over Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial’s remarks during former prime minister Imran Khan's appearance before the Supreme Court after his arrest.

While the federal cabinet believes that the manner in which CJP Bandial greeted Khan, who is accused of corruption by saying “good to see you” is a blot on the face of justice — CJP Bandial terms it as a part of court etiquette.

Giving a clarification on his demeanour, CJP Bandial — during a case hearing today — addressed lawyer Asghar Sabzwari by saying “good to see you” as the latter appeared before the chief justice after a long break.

The chief justice added that: "He is being criticised for greeting Khan in the same manner; however, he uses this phrase often".

“I hold everyone in high esteem as respect and courteousness are important for everybody,” CJP Bandial remarked, adding, "Without these two aspects, there is no fun".

CJP Bandial's exchange of pleasantries with the PTI chief is the talk of the town since last week when Khan was produced before the top court after he was arrested on graft charges by Pakistan Rangers during a routine appearance at Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led cabinet has been strongly condemning the intervention of CJP Bandial in the arrest of the PTI chief. 

The arrest brought his supporters onto the streets and violent protests broke out in which government buildings were set ablaze, roads were blocked, and damage was done to the property belonging to the army, which PTI blames for Khan’s ouster from power last year.

On May 11, CJP Bandial-led three-member bench directed the anti-graft agency National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to present Khan two days after his arrest. Adhering to the orders, Khan was presented before the bench in Courtroom No. 1 clad in a blue dress and a dark blue waistcoat, under a tight security cordon.

At the outset when the ex-PM came to the rostrum, he was greeted by the CJP who welcomed him by saying “good to see you”. Later, the court extended “extraordinary” relief to the PTI chief, declaring his arrest from the premises of the Islamabad High Court “invalid and unlawful”.

The court directed that NAB and police would ensure “foolproof” security for the former premier until his production before the IHC in connection with his petition against NAB in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The federal cabinet meeting, chaired by the prime minister, condemned the chief justice’s “interference”. The cabinet also declared that the chief justice was “guilty of misconduct”, therefore he should be removed from the office.

Addressing the cabinet, PM Shehbaz condemned the “double standards of justice”.