Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan leaves after appearing before the High Court in Islamabad on September 22, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday offered his apology for hurling threats at a female judge of the District & Sessions Court Islamabad and assured the Islamabad High Court (IHC) where he is facing a contempt case that he would behave in future and it won’t happen again.

The much-awaited apology came after a couple of hearings and after the court, dissatisfied with his previous replies reply, had decided to indict him. The court had fixed September 22 (Thursday) as the date of indictment. In legal terms, proceeding of a criminal case is formally initiated with framing of charge or indictment.

Reason prevails

However, on Thursday reason seemed to prevail and as the hearing began, Imran Khan realizing the seriousness of the case tendered his apology and even went to the extent to say he was ready to appear before the ‘honourable judge’ against whom he had fired away threats.

“I offer my sincere apologies if I crossed any red line,” said Imran Khan at the outset. My intention was not to threaten the judge. If the court says so, I am ready to personally go to the judge and apologise,” he offered and assured the court he would not do something like this in future.

Chief Justice of the IHC, Athar Minallah, who is heading a 5-judge bench, remarked “It is your personal decision as to visit the judge. If you have realised the mistake and are ready to apologise for it is enough.”

The court will record your statement, however, you will have to submit an affidavit and record a detailed written reply, said the court and adjourned the hearing till October 3.

In his August 20 public rally held in Islamabad’s F-9 Park, Imran Khan expressed his dismay over sending of his top aide Shahbaz Gill on physical remand by the judge in question and warned that he would take action against her once his party came to power.

Taking notice of the PTI Chairman’s statement, the IHC initiated a case of contempt of court against him and asked him to clarify his stance.

The decision to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran was taken by Justice Aamer Farooq who was hearing a petition that challenged Gill’s police remand. The court summoned Imran on August 31 and subsequently issued him a show-cause notice.

IHC returns replies after replies

A day before the hearing, the former prime minister submitted a reply before the IHC wherein he expressed his willingness to “withdraw” his words about the judge if they were “regarded as inappropriate.”

However, the IHC deemed the response “unsatisfactory” and asked the PTI chief to submit a “well-considered” response.

Then Imran Khan submitted another reply in the court however, in the revised reply too, Imran instead of seeking an unconditional apology, merely stated “I have a profound regard and respect for this honourable court and its subordinate courts and judge”.

Terming his “revised response” again unsatisfactory, the IHC decided to indict him which however was deferred after Imran Khan finally apologised to the court on Thursday.