Home Latest News Supreme Court Directs Imran Khan to Submit Explanation on May 25

Supreme Court Directs Imran Khan to Submit Explanation on May 25

During proceedings in contempt of court case, CJP lashes out at PTI’s lawyers, saying they appear to have misled apex court

by Staff Report

Farooq Naeem—AFP

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to submit an explanation by Saturday (Nov. 5) over the events of his May 25 long march, when he had directed his supporters to reach D-Chowk in violation of court orders for a sit-in at a local park.

The apex court’s orders were issued during proceedings on a contempt of court case against Khan, filed by the federal government over the PTI’s previous long march and its potential impact on the current march. “Imran Khan is making announcements to attack Islamabad,” reads the petition filed by the government, claiming this violates the court order barring the PTI from anything beyond a peaceful protect. It has urged the apex court to direct the PTI chief to ensure the implementation of orders related to protests and sit-ins and avoid unrest in Islamabad.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the government’s arguments via Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Amir Rehman. Noting that Khan had sought additional time to provide a detailed response, he said the PTI chief’s initial reply had claimed ignorance over any assurance from him, or judicial orders, from May. “Khan had given a surety [at the time],” he maintained, adding that this was pattern, as Khan had likewise violated the conditions of a no-objection certificate during his 2014 dharna in Islamabad.

Recalling that the court had issued two orders on May 25, the CJP said the time between them had been provided to the PTI’s lawyers to seek directives from the party leadership. The court was never informed who gave the directives that day, he added.

To this, Rehman said that PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry had said the directives were taken from PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, as the counsel claimed he had been unable to speak to Khan. The CJP then questioned why the court had not been informed if the lawyers had been unable to contact the party leadership.

“This needs to be explained,” he remarked. “The court had trusted [PTI lawyers] Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhry. Neither said that they didn’t get directives,” he said, adding that it appeared the apex court had been misled by the two lawyers. He also questioned how Imran Khan had been able to tell his supporters the courts had allowed him to reach D-Chowk if he knew nothing about the court order.

Assurances, said the CJP, had been given that directions came from the PTI leadership and this was Imran Khan. “Imran Khan has sought time for a detailed answer,” he said, adding that the court had sufficient evidence to proceed against Khan on contempt of court, but would not issue any ruling in haste. He then directed the PTI chief to submit his explanation and said the date for the next hearing would be issued after this had been provided.

During proceedings, neither Chaudhry, nor Awan appeared in court and were represented by Supreme Court Bar Association President Ahsan Bhoon. The CJP said the court had sought replies from the two lawyers and would hear arguments by the government’s lawyer and examine their replies later.

Last week, in a reply submitted to the Supreme Court over the contempt of court plea, Khan had maintained that he was unaware of any statement having been submitted to the court on behalf of the “senior leadership” of the party ahead of its May 25 long march. Prior to the PTI’s previous march entering Islamabad, the apex court had issued clear instructions that the protest should be held in a park between the H-9 and G-9 areas of Islamabad. However, within an hour of the ruling being issued, Khan had released a video statement urging his protesters to join him at D-Chowk, maintaining that courts had now allowed them to do so.

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