Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has expressed his displeasure over Imran Khan’s latest controversial statement about the appointment of the next chief of army staff (COAS) and said that the PTI chief must not expect relief from the courts if he was hell-bent on doing “all this.”
On Monday, Justice Minallah heard a petition against a PEMRA ban on the live broadcast of Imran Khan’s speeches.
The court suspended the PEMRA order at the last hearing and Justice Minallah today disposed of the petition.
However, during the hearing, the IHC chief justice addressed the lawyers from the PTI and came down hard on them for Imran Khan’s latest statement about the army. The statement was condemned by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif as one of “Imran Niazi’s despicable utterances to malign institutions.”
Justice Minallah said that no one had the right to declare who was a patriot and who was not.
“The armed forces are sacrificing their lives and you are trying to demoralize them,” he said.
The IHC top judge also lamented that Pakistan was drowning in floods and “such things” were being discussed at this time.
“Is this leadership? Have you put every thing at stake for a game of thrones,” he said.
“Can you raise question on the patrioticism of a military general?” the judge asked.
Do you want to utter such things and then desire the PEMRA to not play its regulatory role, Justice Minallah said adding that the PTI leader must decide for himself what he wanted and that he should not expect relief from courts after “doing all this.”
“Are you suggesting that the Constitution could be violated?”
The judge advised Imran Khan to exercise “self accountability” as well.
Justice Minallah said that allegations hurled by a political leader with a following have a deeper impact.
If such a leader makes a provocative statement in violation of the Constitution, it could not be seen as freedom of expression, he said.
You will create problems for yourself by making such statements, he said.
“What message are you sending to the enemies. Do you mean all generals are not patriots?”
Meanwhile, officials from the PEMRA explained before the court their instructions sent to TV channels last month on the live broadcast of Imran Khan’s speeches.
The officials told the court that they only wanted to ensure implementation of the delay mechanism.
The court disposed of the petition ordering PEMRA to follow the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruling while regulating live broadcasts.
Imran Khan also faces a contempt of court case for issuing threats to Islamabad’s Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.
A larger bench headed by Justice Minallah heard the case last week and granted Imran Khan a week’s time to revise his reply submitted to the court.