Imran Khan changes tune: Former Pak PM apologises before court for threatening lady judge
Islamabad: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday tendered an apology before the Islamabad High Court for having threatened a female judge in his speech during a rally last month.
As the judiciary adopted a strict stance and began considering contempt proceedings, the cricketer-turned-politician shed aside his earlier defiance and appeared before the court with a promise that he would never repeat such acts.
Khan also promised to apologise in person to the lady judge Zeba Chaudhary, whom he had allegedly threatened in his speech in a rally in August, according to Pakistani daily The Dawn. The court deferred contempt proceedings against Khan following the apology, the publication reported.
"I apologise if I crossed any line. It won't happen again. I never intended to hurt the sentiments of the court," the former prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party said in his submission, according to media reports.
Khan also assured the court that he would never commit "such an act again," Pakistani newspaper The Nation reported.
The Islamabad HC was set to frame charges against the former prime minister during the hearing, however, Khan offered an apology at the outset of the hearing itself, reported the daily.
Earlier, the PTI chief, who is seething after he was unseated from the prime minister's position, found himself booked in a terror case on a complaint by Islamabad Sadar Magistrate Ali Javed for threatening the female judge during a rally on August 20.
Following the complaint, the Islamabad High Court decided to indict Imran Khan on Thursday after it found he had given an "unsatisfactory" response in the case, reports in the Pakistani media said.
According to reports, Khan appeared before the court on Thursday amid tight security.
Soon the hearing started in the contempt of court case against Khan. Khan did not only tendered an apology to the Islamabad High Court but also urged the court to let him apologise to the female judge Zeba Chaudhry in person to whom he threatened during the rally.
The series of events that transpired during the day was in stark contrast to earlier statements by Khan where he firmly defended his speech and stood against issuing any sort of apologies before the court.
However, right before Islamabad High Court decided to indict Khan, the apology came shortly after. During the hearing in the contempt case, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that the court is not framing charges against Imran Khan, according to reports.
"The court values your statement [given] before the court. You understood the gravity of your statement, we appreciate that," IHC CJ Minallah was quoted according to The Nation. The court also asked Imran Khan to submit his apology and promise in the form of an affidavit.
The court recorded his statement and adjourned the hearing till October 3.
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 an additional sessions judge during the rally.
The controversial comments against the sessions judge were made when Khan was protesting against the treatment of his close aide Shahbaz Gill under police custody after Gill was arrested in a sedition case.
On August 20 Khan claimed that Gill was subjected to torture and sexual harassment during the custody and 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.
Continuing his threats, he turned his guns towards the additional sessions judge, who sent Gill into physical remand on the police's request. Imran Khan then said she [the judge] should brace herself for consequences. (ANI)