PTI Chairman Imran Khan, for the third time, avoided tendering an unconditional apology in a contempt case as he submitted his response to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The former prime minister is facing contempt charges for his controversial remarks about Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a rally in Islamabad on August 20.
In the last hearing on September 22, Khan surprisingly apologised before the IHC and assured the court that he would not issue such a statement again — leading the court to delay his indictment.
The PTI chairman appeared on Friday before the court of judge Chaudhry and told the court staff that he wanted to apologise to the judge, however, she was on leave.
But in the latest response, Khan, although mentioning that he “might have crossed a red line while making a public speech”, fell short of apologising for his remarks.
“The deponent (Khan) never intended to threaten the judge […] and that there was no intention behind the statement to take any action other than legal action,” his response affidavit stated.
Imran said that he assures the court that he is willing to explain and clarify before the female judge that neither he nor his party sought any action against her.
“…the deponent is willing to apologise to the judge if she got an impression that the deponent had crossed a line,” the PTI chairman stated.
Imran assured the IHC that he would “never do anything in future” that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary.
The PTI chairman added that he is willing to take any further steps that the IHC deems necessary and that he never intended to interfere with the process of the court or impugn the dignity or independence of the judiciary.
The former chief executive said that he stands by his September 22 statement and “once again assure[s] this court that he would always abide by the afore-referred statement, in letter and spirit”.
The hearing of the case will take place on October 3, when IHC will review Khan’s response.
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 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 forced the IHC to set a date for framing charges against Khan.
In the hearing on September 22, when the court was about to frame charges against Khan, he dodged them by apologising to the IHC and gained more time.
THE CASE: On August 23, a larger bench of the IHC issued a show-cause notice to Khan after taking up contempt of court proceedings against him for threatening the 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, Khan then said she [the judge] should brace herself for consequences.