The federal government on Thursday approached the Supreme Court, through the Interior Ministry, to seek contempt of court charges against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for his alleged violation of the apex court’s May 25 orders.
In its May order, the petition noted, the Supreme Court had directed the PTI to hold a gathering in a ground located between sectors H-9 and G-9 after the party leadership had assured judges that their rally would not cause any inconvenience; block the Srinagar Highway; trouble the public; or be conducted in any manner that was not peaceful and lawful. Despite these assurances, stressed the petition, the PTI’s top leadership had encouraged its supporters to reach D-Chowk after falsely claiming the court had allowed its march without any conditions.
After the PTI chairman’s May 25 violations, the apex court had sought reports from all law enforcement agencies, which were submitted in June and are still pending before the court. Stressing that these reports had “unequivocally” established that Khan violated court orders, it alleged all PTI workers had been acting on the directions of the ousted prime minister. “Even the court, in its order dated 26.05.2022, observed with anguish that ‘we are disappointed to note that the bona fide effort made by the Court was disrespected’.”
The ministry’s plea also notes that this is not the first time that Khan has targeted state institutions. “He has a history of insulting state institutions, including the judiciary. In 2013, he was reprimanded by this Honorable Court for labeling the conduct of the judiciary ‘sharamnak’,” it said, claiming the PTI chief had “glamorized” the maligning of judiciary and state institutions.
“He is the chairman of a political party garnering considerable following of the public, who are swayed by his remarks. His party members follow suit. They too indulge in smear campaigns against the judiciary and state institutions, to no disapproval or condemnation of the PTI chairman,” it said, maintaining that this proved that Khan had “intentionally and willfully” disobeyed the court’s order and was liable to be proceeded against for committing grave contempt of court.
The contempt petition also calls for the apex court must ensure its order is implemented for the protection of fundamental rights of the public, particularly residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It calls on the Supreme Court to issue comprehensive guidelines for all future protests in the federal capital, including requiring prior intimation of the date; selection of venue; assurance of not causing any hindrance to public life; and a commitment to ensure that the protesters would not damage any public or private property.
Separately, the federal government also approached the Supreme Court for a restraining order against Khan over the perception that he might create a law and order situation through his party’s planned long march on Islamabad. Referring to recent speeches by the PTI chief, it said his remarks about the incumbent rulers and state institutions were “highly inflammatory” and aimed at encouraging distrust and contempt and instigating revolt.
Claiming Khan’s intent had caused alarm among both the Pakistani public as well as the international community and investors, it said the PTI’s past behavior necessitated directions from the apex court about his upcoming protests at a time when the country was already dealing with devastation caused by unprecedented floods. “This call for jihad is nothing other than waging war against the state by a party and its leader who cannot accept that he was forced out of the government through constitutional means,” it added.