A Pakistani court on Saturday issued arrest warrants for former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for threatening a judge.
On August 20, Khan had made controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, following which a case was registered against him in a police station and contempt of court proceedings were initiated in a court.
In the rally, Khan had threatened to file cases against top police officials, election commission, and political opponents over the treatment meted out to his aide Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested on charges of sedition. He had also taken exception to Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the police, and said she should "prepare herself as action would be taken against her".
The case against Khan was registered at Margalla Police Station in Islamabad. In pursuance of the case, a local magistrate issued the arrest warrant at the request of the police.
Separately, Islamabad High Court had also launched contempt proceedings.
Initially, Khan was booked under terrorism laws but the charges were deleted on the directive of the Islamabad High Court and the case was transferred from an anti-terrorism court to a normal sessions court.
The bail granted to him by the anti-terrorism case also became ineffective after the case was transferred. The police said he failed to attend the last court hearing on the matter and the arrest warrant was issued to ensure his presence.
It was rumoured that the Islamabad police sent about 300 personnel to arrest Khan from his Banigala residence in the suburbs of Islamabad but the police denied the reports.
"There is no truth in this news and it is baseless," the Islamabad police said soon after Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters started to gather at Banigala in anticipation of any police action. Police asked the people not to "listen to propaganda".
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that Khan was not being arrested and the arrest warrant was routine and bailable.
"It is [for] a bailable crime. There is no question of arrest,” said Sanaullah.
Separately, Khan earlier on Saturday submitted an affidavit in the Islamabad High Court in the contempt case for threatening Chaudhry, assuring the court that he would never do anything in future that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary. He further said that he is "willing to apologise" if the judge thinks that he crossed a "red line".
Khan also visited the court to inform that he is willing to apologise. In a video, he is heard saying in Urdu, "Tell Madam Zeba that Imran Khan came here and wanted to apologise if his words caused her hurt."
Imran Khan apologises to IHC over contempt of Court Case, visits additional district and sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry court for apology.@ImranKhanPTI @fawadchaudhry @PTIofficial pic.twitter.com/QTA7bSpXcU— Daily Times (@dailytimespak) September 30, 2022
Khan was ousted as prime minister in April after his ruling coalition's MPs turned against him and he lost a vote of confidence. From weeks prior to his ouster, Khan has been alleging a foreign conspiracy against him. He has accused the United States to be in legue with his political opponents, which came together with the country's institutions to oust him, as per him. Since his ouster, Khan has been holding massive rallies across Pakistan and has termed the Shehbaz Sharif-led government as "imported" regime. Sharif succeeded Khan as prime minister.
Khan has said that the United States did not like his pursuit of independent foreign policy and therefore ousted him in league with his Opposition.
Khan came to power in 2018 and remains the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed a five-year term.
(With PTI inputs)