Court defers indictment of former Pakistani prime minister in contempt of court case
By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD (AA) - A Pakistani court deferred contempt of court proceedings against former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday after he expressed his willingness to apologize for his controversial remarks about a woman judge.
Khan, who appeared before a five-member Islamabad High Court bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, said during the proceedings that he is willing to apologize to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and assure her that he never intended to threaten or insult her.
Following the announcement, the court stated that Khan's indictment for contempt of court had been postponed. The former prime minister was instructed to submit an affidavit, and the matter was deferred until next week.
The court had initiated contempt proceedings against Khan following his speech at a public rally in Islamabad last month. He was accused of threatening police officials and a woman judge who extended the physical remand of Shahbaz Gill, his chief of staff arrested over treason charges.
Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed that Gill was tortured in police custody, which the authorities denied. Last week, Islamabad High Court released Gill on bail.
Earlier in his written reply to the court, Khan regretted his remarks in which he said he would initiate action against the officials, but did not tender an unconditional apology.
On Sept. 8, the court announced that the former premier would be indicted for contempt of court on Sept. 22.
The government also filed a terrorism case against Khan in the same case, but on Monday, the Islamabad High Court ordered the police to drop the terrorism charges against him.
Since his ouster from power in a parliament no-confidence vote in April, Khan has staged a series of anti-government rallies and has called for early elections, which are otherwise scheduled for mid-2023. He is also charged with terrorism for his speech against state officials.