After the former prime minister failed to submit a complete apology on September 22, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided to prosecute Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI.
“Imran Khan’s response was unsatisfactory,” said IHC CJ Athar Minallah. CJ Minallah is heading a five-member bench — comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangir, and Justice Babar Sattar — that heard the case.
After the verdict was reserved and the court had a five-minute break, Khan stood up and requested permission to speak. The IHC CJ then stated that the court had heard his attorneys.
“I want to give my stance; the court can question me,” Khan said, but the court prefered to let it be and decided against listening to the PTI chairman.
The former prime minister allegedly threatened Islamabad Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry for extending PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s remand in a statement at a public rally last month, which drew the attention of the court.
The IHC chief justice had warned Khan at the previous hearing that if he failed to respond to the show-cause notice in a “well-considered” manner within seven days, the court would have its way.
The PTI chairman did not apologize in his initial response to the IHC’s show-cause notice in the matter, but he did offer to retract his comments “if they were incorrect.”
The PTI chairman’s most recent response, a 19-page document, appears to have chosen to instruct the court to dismiss the notice in light of his justification and Islamic forgiveness principles.
Although amici curiae recommended that the former prime minister be pardoned, in both responses the PTI chairman did not make an unqualified apology, which ultimately led to the court making the decision.