Pakistan court summons ex-PM Khan in contempt case next week

Aug 22, 2022, 1:53 PM | Updated: Aug 23, 2022, 10:09 am

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses during an anti-government rally in I...

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses during an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. A Pakistani court on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, was expected to initiate contempt proceedings against Khan for threatening a judge in a recent rally speech as pressure on the ousted premier intensified with police raiding the apartment of his close aide in the capital, and taking the associate away for interrogation. (AP Photo/W.K. Yousafzai)

(AP Photo/W.K. Yousafzai)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — An Islamabad court Tuesday summoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan to appear next week to answer contempt charges over his verbal threats to a judge at a weekend rally. Police meanwhile registered another case against him on charges of defying a ban on rallies in Islamabad.

The latest development indicated that Pakistan’s government is stepping up pressure on Khan, who has been holding mass rallies, seeking to return to power. Separately, police raided overnight the apartment of Khan’s close aide Shahbaz Gill in the Pakistani capital, and took him away in handcuffs for interrogation.

A conviction against Khan, who is to appear before the Islamabad High Court on Aug. 31, would mean disqualification from politics for life since under Pakistani law, no convicted person can run for office.

It is the second time that Khan — a former cricket star turned Islamist politician — faces contempt charges. After elections in 1993, he was summoned but pardoned by the Supreme Court after describing the conduct of the judiciary as “shameful” and saying it did not ensure free and fair elections.

Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader from Khan’s opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told The Associated Press that Khan’s team would examine the summons but that in their opinion, the Islamabad High Court lacks the authority to try Khan for contempt of court.

Legal experts say Khan has limited options and could avoid a conviction if he apologizes for his remarks against Judge Zeba Chaudhry on Saturday, when he told her to “get ready for it, we will also take action against you.”

Also on Tuesday, Islamabad police registered another case against Khan and 16 other leaders from his party on charges of defying a ban on disruptive rallies in Islamabad on Saturday.

The latest developments came two days after authorities filed terrorism charges against Khan, escalating political tensions in the country.

In New York, meanwhile, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was aware of the terrorism charges against Khan and that he “urges calm, lowering of tensions and respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms” in Pakistan.

Khan, who came into power in 2018 and was ousted in April in a no-confidence vote in Parliament, could face from several months to 14 years in prison, the equivalent of a life sentence, on the terrorism charges.

Gill, Khan’s close aide taken Tuesday for interrogation, has been charged with treason for his recent anti-army remarks during a show on the private ARY TV in which he urged soldiers and officers to disobey “illegal” orders from military leaders. The charge carries the death penalty under a sedition act that stems from a British colonial-era law. ARY TV remains off-air in Pakistan following that broadcast.

Since his ouster, Khan has alleged — without providing evidence — that Pakistan’s powerful military took part in a U.S. plot to oust him. Washington, the Pakistani military and the government of Khan’s successor, Shahbaz Sharif, have all denied the allegation.

Sharif’s government is unhappy with Khan over his threats and although courts usually pardon offenders if they apologize, some politicians have been convicted in the past for disobeying or insulting judges.

Ahsan Bhoon, a lawyer who heads the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, welcomed the proceedings against Khan, saying no one should be allowed to insult a judge or damage the reputation of the judiciary.

Khan came to power promising to break the pattern of family rule in Pakistan. His opponents contend he was elected with help from the powerful military, which has ruled the country for half of its 75-year history.

Since his ouster, Khan has also demanded early elections and vowed to oust Sharif’s government through “pressure from the people.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A person shows their scan card for their personal selection numbers for a ticket for a Power...

L.B. Gilbert

$1.2 billion Powerball drawing nears after 11 weeks without a winner

A $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot will again be up for grabs Wednesday night after an 11-week stretch without a big winner

8 hours ago

FILE - A man walks through wildfire wreckage in Lahaina, Hawaii, Aug. 11, 2023. Federal authorities...

Associated Press

Cleanup from Maui fires complicated by island’s logistical challenges, cultural significance

Cleanup of areas destroyed in the Maui wildfires could end up being one of the most complex to date, federal officials said, given the island's significant cultural sites, its rich history including a royal residence and possibly remains of people who died in the disaster.

15 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023...


New York judge issues limited gag order after Trump makes disparaging post about court clerk

A New York judge imposed a limited gag order on defendant Donald Trump Tuesday after the former president disparaged a key court staffer during his civil business fraud trial.

1 day ago

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the introduction of the integration of Microsoft Bing sea...

Suman Naishadham, Associated Press

Microsoft CEO says unfair practices by Google led to its dominance as a search engine

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Monday that unfair tactics used by Google led to its dominance as a search engine, tactics that in turn have thwarted his company’s rival program, Bing.

2 days ago

This undated photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Portland Field Office shows a ...

Associated Press

Man accused of kidnapping Seattle woman, kidnapping charges in separate case

A man accused of abducting a woman in Seattle, driving her hundreds of miles to his home in Oregon and locking her in a makeshift cinder block cell 

2 days ago

A person browses offerings in the Raven's Nest Treasure shop in Pike Place Market, Dec. 10, 2021, i...

Associated Press

Man who faked Native American heritage to sell his art in Seattle sentenced to probation

A Washington state man who falsely claimed Native American heritage to sell his artwork at downtown Seattle galleries was sentenced Wednesday to federal probation and community service.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Pakistan court summons ex-PM Khan in contempt case next week