Supreme Court withdraws contempt notice against Imran Khan

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 12:45:20 by

The Supreme Court on Wednesday withdrew the contempt of court notice against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan, his lawyers said.

The apex court had issued the notice to Imran Khan over his remarks about the judiciary role in the alleged rigging in the May 11 general elections.

Khan appeared before the bench a day after he formally submitted a reply, arguing he has not committed contempt of court and that the word ‘shameful’ was neither abusive nor was used to refer to the court.

On July 26 Imran’s remarks sparked the contempt of court controversy when he said that the judiciary was involved in rigging during the May 11 elections.  His word of “shameful” act of the judiciary had in fact created controversy.

The PTI chief had later said the statement was made in good faith wherein the reference to the judiciary was for the returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) belonging to the subordinate judiciary assigned to the election process.

Justice Ejaz Chaudhry said during the Wednesday’s hearing remarked the term “shameful” is abusive if used against the judiciary.

In response to Imran’s written reply, Justice Anwar stated that the word ‘shameful’ is offensive if referred to the judiciary, however a better meaning of the term can be provided by the defendant party.

Imran’s defence lawyer Hamid Khan argued before the bench that the word ‘shameful’ was used for the presiding officers functioning in May 11 elections and not for the judiciary.

Imran had earlier said that he did not commit any contempt of court, arguing that the word ‘shameful’ was neither abusive nor was used to refer to the court.

Hours before his appearance in the apex court, the PTI Chief said he does not intend to opt for clash with the judiciary but wants to put an end the tradition of rigging in elections.

He again ruled out tendering apology in the court over his word “shameful” and said he has not committed any mistake to apologize. He reiterated his strong reservations over the role of Returning Officers in the May 11 general elections.

Hamid Khan submitted the 21-page reply to the apex court on Tuesday, which he says he has a great respect for the judiciary and that he has struggled for its restoration more than any other person. He raised four questions related to the role and conduct of the apex court in the May 11 general elections.

“However it saddens the PTI, when National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) in its meeting held on June 8, expressed satisfaction with the performance of returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) during the election process,” the reply said.

He further said, “The Supreme Court also issued press release stating that not a single application worth consideration against DROs and ROs was received and that was indeed shocking to the PTI and its candidates.”

Imran said they felt their cases had already been prejudiced by the NJPMC. “A large number of the aggrieved candidates of PTI did not file election petitions because of disappointment arising out of such a press release,” he added.

“The unfair election process has resulted in the unfortunate exit of the chief election commissioner. It lends substance to the overwhelming perception that there was no cohesion within the ECP and the conduct of general elections was extremely flawed,” he continued.

“It is not unusual for the apex court to take suo moto notice of much less grave incidents of injustice where only individuals are concerned. But it was disappointing that this court did not feel it proper to take suo moto notice of such grave injustice where rights of the people of Pakistan have been trampled,” the reply stated.

Imran said the DROs, ROs, police, polling staff and the ECP were involved in the rigging in collusion with members of certain political parties.

“Our voters were misled on polling stations and ‘go slow policy’ adopted by presiding officers also created a mess,” the PTI chief stated.

“It was the ECP that has appointed retired district and sessions judges as Election Tribunal in violation of National Judicial Policy,” he said, reiterating his demand that Supreme Court should order verification of thumb impressions in four constituencies NA-110, NA-122, NA-125 and NA-154.

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