A five-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court will hear the contempt case against Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan for his controversial remarks threatening a female judge during a rally here, a media report said on Sunday. The bench – headed by Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah – comprises Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, and Justice Babar Sattar, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Initially, the case was heard by a three-member bench. The court, however, forwarded the matter to the IHC Chief Justice seeking the inclusion of more judges on the bench, the report said.
The IHC on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf chairman Khan and summoned him in his personal capacity on August 31 in contempt proceedings for threatening the district and sessions court judge Zeba Chaudhry. At a rally here in F-9 Park on August 20, Khan threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police and declared: ”We won’t spare you.” He then warned the judiciary for its biased attitude towards his party, saying that it should brace itself for the consequences.
The PTI chairman also warned additional district and sessions judge Chaudhry, who had approved the two-day physical remand of Khan’s aide Shahbaz Gill on the request of the Islamabad Police, that she would also face dire consequences. Gill was arrested a fortnight ago on charges of sedition.
The show-cause notice to Khan mentioned that the statement was made in a sub judice matter to get ‘favourable’ verdict and prima facie, this act was tantamount to obstructing the course of justice and due process and undermining public confidence in the court of law.
According to the newspaper, prima facie Khan committed “criminal as well as judicial contempt, punishable under section 5 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003”. “These remarks have been made with the motive of bringing the administration of law into disrepute and eroding the integrity and credibility of the judicial system,” it added.
Khan, 69, was booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism), according to the copy of the first information report. The case was registered at the Margalla Police Station of Islamabad.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, has been targeting powerful institutions, including the powerful Pakistan Army, since his government was toppled in April.