The judgement was delivered by the bigger bench of the IHC, which is chaired by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and includes Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, and Justice Babar Sattar.
Following Imran’s comments directed against Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, the court was considering the contempt of court case that had been brought against him.
Both of the amicus argued that the IHC ought to discharge the show-cause notice it had issued against the former prime minister.
Even the representative of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Akhtar Hussain, pleaded with the apex court to provide Imran one last chance to submit an apology that was without conditions. On the other hand, the IHC came to the conclusion that he should be indicted.
The Islamic High Court (IHC) voiced its displeasure with Imran’s additional response in the contempt case, describing the comment made by the party head as one of “incitement.”
Alongside his attorney, the former premier was present in the courtroom. Hamid Khan.
Hamid responded to Imran’s comments on the matter by saying, “As per the court’s observation, we have given the reply.” He was referring to Imran’s statement.
Yesterday, in response to the show cause notice issued by the IHC, the former premier sent in a second written response in which he expressed his profound contrition for the “unintentional” statements that he had previously said about the judge.
The head of the PTI had previously said that expressing apologies to the court for his previous statements would not be considered embarrassing.
Hamid insisted that his client desired for the case to be resolved, which was something that was expressed in the written reply that was submitted to the court.
He continued by saying that the court has handed over the cases of Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry at the hearing that took place on August 31. He went on to say that he would explain how the situation with Imran was distinct from the judgements made by the Supreme Court.
“I will also submit the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Imran Khan issue before the court,” he added. “I will also present the decision of the Supreme Court in the case.”
IHC Chief Justice Minallah stated that the purpose of the hearing was to bring attention to three decisions made by the Supreme Court. He stated that in the case of Firdous Ashiq Awan, there are three different types of contempt of court mentioned, and that the case of Talal Chaudhry was not a criminal contempt of court.
The Chief Justice said once again that criminal contempt of court is a severe offence, and that intent cannot be addressed in connection with it. In addition to this, he added that at the most recent hearing, the lawyer was informed that this reference was considered a criminal contempt of court.
CJ Minallah maintained that there were no criminal contempt proceedings against Daniyal Aziz or Talal Chaudhry and that the high court was bound by the judgments of the apex court. He further said that the high court was bound by the rulings of the apex court.
The legal team representing Imran reiterated that they want for this issue to be resolved as quickly as possible and that they had presented the findings with the greatest respect.
According to what Hamid has indicated, “the court offered another chance to which a full reply was submitted.”
According to Justice Minallah, criminal contempt was a significant issue that lacked any explanation.
“We are strong advocates of the right to free speech, but we cannot tolerate incitement in any form. You are not allowed to argue your motives while you are being held in criminal contempt “he stated.
Hamid was required to read an excerpt from a case that was previously heard by the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice of the Indian High Court said that the Leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had attempted to make reasons in his answer, and he questioned if any previous Premier could explain that the IHC CJ did not know the law.
“We have to obey the law, no one can influence us,” he stated, adding that a significant crime had been committed, but that no one was aware of it. “We have to follow the law,” he concluded.
The legal representative for the PTI insisted that he was not attempting to defend the response but rather putting up his own stance.
The comment made by Justice Minallah was that there was so much divide throughout society that people could trash their opponents in public places. He said, “If anything like this were to happen to a judge, then what would happen?”
The Chief Justice said that nothing positive has occurred in the last seven decades before asking the attorney if he wanted to defend the previous premier’s assertion. In response to this, Hamid said that he had meant to clarify the comment rather than excuse it.
He wanted to know whether Imran’s response would have been the same if the remarks had been made against a judge on the highest court in the country.
Justice Babar Sattar was mystified as to how a political leader could come out in front of a crowd of people and proclaim their intention to take legal action against a judge.
In his arguments, Hamid said that he had already filed a supplemental reply taking into account the remarks made by the IHC. Again, he emphasised that “we are seeking closure of the situation.”
IHC Chief Justice remarked that Imran’s comment against the judge was a “incitement,” and Justice Babar Sattar added that Imran’s following behaviour did not prove that there would be no damage to the judge. Both of these statements were made by Imran.
Even after the speech and the contempt of court case, Justice Sattar held that Imran’s statements continued to give reasons, even after the issue had been resolved.
The Chief Justice said that Imran had used the term “shameful” and warned Imran’s attorney that his client was in a very precarious situation.
According to CJ Minallah, “The Nihal Hashmi case was similar, it was a threat without identifying the judge,” and he went on to say that Hashmi had apologised, but the Supreme Court did not take his apologies into consideration.
During the hearing, it was possible to get a glimpse of the leader of the PTI reciting prayers on his tasbih, which is a string of prayer beads.
According to Hamid, Imran wished to come to the podium in order to clarify his remarks from the previous day, which he said had been “misreported.”
According to Justice Minallah, it is a more severe offence to threaten a judge in the district judicial system than it is to threaten a judge in the Supreme Court.
He noted that while a lot had been written about the high court and how it never began contempt of court proceedings, the present situation was “totally different.” He said that a lot of people had spoken about how the high court never did this.
The judge questioned Hamid once again if he wanted to fight the case by offering reasons, and the attorney replied that he was only describing the subject and not giving excuses. The bench then asked Hamid whether he wanted to fight the case by giving justifications.
“I was wondering whether it would be alright if our court issued an order against someone and then that person stood outside and claimed that he would not leave the judge.” Justice Sattar questioned.
The Chief Justice said that the leader of the PTI had been informed on several occasions that this was an important matter and that a political leader carried a significant amount of responsibility for the language that they chose to use in public.
Imran then turned to the attorney sitting next to him and requested the individual for a second time whether he may approach the rostrum.
Hamid responded that that was not the path he intended to go and that he wanted the issue to be closed instead. The chief justice continued by asking whether their impression or the court order would prevail, to which he received the same response from Hamid.
“There was never any desire to put the female judge in danger. If there was an attempt to intimidate the judge, please accept our apologies “, he stated. The Chief Justice argued that the issue at hand was a judge from the district court, and not a “woman judge.”
Advocate Hamid said that there was an effort to create the idea that this is a gender problem. In response, Justice Minallah noted that the counsel was once again talking about social media. Advocate Hamid said that there was an attempt to create the perception that this is a gender issue.
“To this day, has any political leader ever requested that his followers on social media behave themselves? The leadership of the organisation is to blame for this. Through various social media platforms, everyone is propagating misinformation “he stated.
In addition, he said that the judicial system was the primary focus of misinformation spread via social media.
After then, Hamid said that his client had the same level of respect for both higher and lower levels of the judicial system.
“In the instance of Firdous Ashiq Awan, the court stated that there may not be any awareness, but at the present you cannot pursue that argument because it would not work in your favour,” CJ Minallah said. “In the case of Firdous Ashiq Awan, the court said that there may not be any awareness.” He also inquired as to if the head of the PTI had said that the social media cannot be abused in any way.
The Honorable Justice Sattar reiterated that in his reply, Imran had acknowledged that he was aware that the appeal had already been submitted to the court.
The Chief Justice questioned whether or not they had any trust in the judicial system and whether or not they would make all of their judgments at political rallies.
After the reading of paragraph four of Hamid’s response, Justice Sattar questioned whether or not it was an intentional effort to pre-empt the appeal and then asked that paragraph four be read again.
“This court has never taken notice of scandalising, no one can influence us, and what people say about us daily on social media does not affect us,” the CJ said, adding that Justice Sattar had rejected the contempt petition against PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary two days ago, even though his statement was more grave. “This court has never taken notice of scandalising,” the CJ said. “No one can influence us, and what people say about us daily on social media does not affect us.”
Hamid indicated that he was aware of such fact in his response. During this time, Imran Khan engaged in a number of conversations with the attorney Shoaib Shaheen who was sitting next to him.
According to what the chief justice had to say, a case of criminal contempt may be made against you.
He went on to say that if the phrase “contempt of court” was used for things that people said, it would be used every day; as a result, the court rarely took notice of what was said to it. He also emphasised that the punishments given by the Supreme Court in cases involving contempt of court were low.
They claimed that the present issue was one of judicial and criminal contempt, which was a highly delicate subject. The situation was exceedingly delicate.
As soon as Hamid Khan was through presenting his case, the judge called Attorney General Ashtar Asif to the podium.
“We used regret’ repeatedly in the supplementary response, whatever was said was unintentional with no intention of contempt of court,” Hamid said, claiming that they could never even think of the possibility of committing contempt of court. “We used regret’ repeatedly in the supplementary response,” Hamid said.
He made it clear that in the future “we will be cautious with the judicial system.”
After taking the podium, the Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf made the following statement: “The apex court had pardoned a similar incident eight years ago, and now the offenders believe that they can repeat the same mistake and be pardoned continuously.” [Translation:] “the offenders believe that they can repeat the same mistake and be pardoned continuously.”
He said that an affidavit ought to have been provided along with Imran’s response, but it was not.
“The motive and goal of the defamer are extremely essential,” said AG Ausaf, who also said that a contempt of court case had been brought against Imran in 2014, with allegations and processes that were identical to those in the current case.
He emphasised the fact that the accusations that had been brought against Imran were dropped. As the court called for judicial assistants to the rostrum, the attorney general’s argument was cut short and left unfinished.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, a judicial assistant, took the podium and said that the public interest rests in the delivery of justice, and he also stated that the same is present in freedom of expression.
Khan used the situation in the United States with former President Donald Trump as an example, saying that Trump had labelled the ruling of the highest court the worst, but the United States Supreme Court had shown moderation and found another road. He went on to say that the statements made by the party head at the open meeting might potentially have an effect on the judicial system.
In response to the judicial assistant’s question, the Chief Justice said that the PTI has been making threats against the court ever since the beginning of the hearings in the case.
According to the statement made by the chief justice, “We want to make one thing plain to you, the behaviour that should have been witnessed following the contempt of court procedures was not there.”
“Do you want us to accept their justification for why they did what they did?”
Khan advocated for the judge to grant Imran a stay of proceedings in the lawsuit. After then, the judge asked the judicial assistant for his view, to which the assistant said that the response that Imran had previously provided ought to be approved.
Khan argued that “remorse has been conveyed in this matter,” and as he was wrapping up his argument, he added that the court may “give one opportunity to Imran.” Khan was arguing that the court should release Imran on bail.