ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday accepted former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s written apology in a contempt charge stemming from remarks against a female judge that were seen as threatening, quashing the case.
The charges are related to a speech by Khan in which he allegedly threatened police and a female judge in August after one of his close aides was denied bail in a sedition case. The Islamabad High Court initiated contempt charges against Khan but stopped short of inducting him after he apologized in a hearing last month. Instead, the court instructed Khan to submit an affidavit for consideration of the court before the next date of hearing, October 3.
“We have seen the affidavit [submitted by Khan], and we are satisfied with the written apology,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said in court. “Imran Khan has demonstrated honesty and we are satisfied with his conduct.”
The chief justice then discharged the contempt notice in a unanimous decision of a five-member bench.
Attorney-General of Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf, opposed the dismissal, citing previous judgments of the Supreme Court in which lawmakers were disqualified from holding public office for contempt of court.
Talking to reporters after the hearing, Khan said: “Justice Athar Minallah has handed down great decisions.”
Conviction in the contempt case could have led to Khan’s disqualification from politics for at least five years under Pakistani law.
The cricket-star turned politician has faced a barrage of legal woes since his ouster in a vote of no-confidence in April by a united opposition led by his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Another of the critical cases against him is related to foreign funding for his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which an inquiry by an election tribunal has found unlawful.