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IHC rejects petition accusing PM Khan of contempt of court

Islamabad High Court dismissed on Tuesday a petition accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan of contempt of court for his controversial remarks on the judiciary in a recent speech.

Earlier the court had reserved its verdict on the maintainability of the petition.

During the proceedings, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the appellant what issue he has with the prime minister’s speech.  The petitioner responded that the Prime Minister had ridiculed the judiciary.

“The courts welcome criticism,” said Justice Minallah. However, Saleemullah Khan, a former police official, who had filed a petition in the court against PM Khan on Monday said that there was a “difference between criticism and contempt”.

“Do you want the trial of an elected prime minister?” Justice Minallah asked. “Do you know the outcome of such a move? Do you want the prime minister to be disqualified?”

In his petition, the former police official said that PM Khan committed “contempt of court” and tried to make the judiciary appear “controversial” in his November 18 speech.

PM Khan had requested the chief justice of Pakistan to end the perception that there were different laws for the powerful and the weak.

The premier, while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the second phase of Hazara Motorway in Havelian, had asked judges to restore the people’s confidence in the judiciary.

The petitioner also submitted a video recording and transcript of PM Khan’s speech along with the petition.

CJP Asif Saeed Khosa has already responded to PM Khan’s speech. “Do not taunt us regarding the powerful,” the chief justice had said while speaking at an event on November 20.

“Whatever social segments criticise our judges should be a little cautious because they (judges) are working hard day and night,” Chief Justice Khosa had said.

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