Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan would be charged in a contempt proceeding on Thursday for making controversial remarks against a female judge during a rally here last month, according to a circular issued by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday.
During a rally here on August 20, the 69-year-old Khan threatened to file lawsuits against senior police officials, electoral commissions and political opponents over the treatment of his assistant Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested on charges of sedition.
He had also taken offense at Additional District and Session Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who agreed to Gill’s two-day pre-trial detention at police request, saying to “prepare as action will be taken against her”.
Hours after the speech, Khan was charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act for threatening police, the judiciary and other state institutions at his rally.
Judge Aamer Farooq decided to open a contempt case against Khan while hearing a petition challenging Gill’s pre-trial detention.
On Wednesday, the circular issued by the IHC said the case’s trial will begin at 2:30 p.m., during which time a major bank will formulate the charges against Khan.
“A team of 15 lawyers from Imran Khan, 15 lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office are allowed to enter the courtroom,” the circular said.
No one other than those named above will be allowed into the courtroom unless they have the special ID cards issued by the IHC registry office, she added. “[The] Islamabad administration and police will take safety precautions to maintain court decency,” she added.
Earlier, the IHC had called Khan’s response “unsatisfactory” at the last hearing on September 8 and decided to indict him after he failed to issue an unconditional apology. The court had twice given Khan an opportunity to provide a written response to satisfy the court, but he failed to convince the court, which announced charges against him.
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he says was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him for his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
The cricketer, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament.