-Appeared before Court amid strict security
-Says he “never intended to hurt sentiments of Court”
-Court reverses indictment decision
ISLAMABAD: In a surprise move, PTI Chairman Imran Khan finally apologised on Thursday before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as the hearing started of a contempt of court case against him for controversial remarks about Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a rally in Islamabad on August 20.
Imran Khan appeared before the court amid strict security as the court was set to frame charges against him during the hearing. However, Imran Khan offered an apology at the outset of the hearing.
“I apologise if I crossed any line. It won’t happen again. I never intended to hurt the sentiments of the court,” Imran Khan said while assuring the court of never committing “such an act again,” Khan said.
He also requested the court to allow him to apologise to judge Zeba Chaudhry in person. At this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that the court is not framing charges against Imran Khan yesterday.
“The court values your statement [given] before the court. You understood the gravity of your statement, we appreciate that,” IHC CJ Minallah said, directing the PTI chair to submit a written affidavit for what Khan said in court. The court recorded his statement and adjourned the hearing till October 3.
On August 23, a larger bench of the IHC issued a show-cause notice to Khan Imran evades indictment after taking up contempt of court proceedings against him for threatening an additional sessions judge during the rally.
The PTI chair had staged a rally in the federal capital on August 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill after claims of torture inflicted on him in custody. He warned the Islamabad inspector-general and deputy inspector-general that he would “not spare” them, vowing to file cases against them for subjecting Gill to alleged inhuman torture.
Turning his guns towards the additional sessions judge, who sent Gill into physical remand on the police’s request, Imran Khan then said she [the judge] should brace herself for consequences. Earlier, terming Imran Khan’s response “unsatisfactory” at the last hearing on September 8, the IHC had decided to indict the former prime minister after he did not submit an unconditional apology. In his first response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the case, the PTI chairman did not apologise, offering, however, to withdraw his remarks “if they were inappropriate”.
In his latest and second response, which was a 19-page-long document, the PTI chairman seemingly opted to tell the court that it should discharge the notice based on his explanation and follow the Islamic principles of forgiveness.
However, in both responses, the PTI chairman did not offer an unconditional apology, which ultimately led to the court taking the decision despite amici curiae suggesting that the former prime minister be forgiven.