IHC CJ responds over the controversial remarks of Imran Khan on appointment of new Army Chief

IHC CJ responds over the controversial remarks of Imran Khan on appointment of new Army Chief

ISLAMABAD – Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday raised concerns over former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s statement passed at a rally in Faisalabad yesterday.

The IHC chief justice made these remarks during a hearing against the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) order prohibiting television channels from airing Khan’s speeches live.

Imran on Sunday lashed out at the PPP and the PML-N — major coalition partners in the incumbent government — saying both parties were opposing snap elections because they wanted to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases.

At the last hearing, the IHC CJ had suspended the order till September 5 and observed that the regulatory authority “does not have the authority” to issue such orders.

Barrister Ali Zafar represented Khan during today’s hearing and a representative of PEMRA was also present to apprise the court of the regulator’s stance.

After hearing the arguments of both sides, the court wrapped up the case.

At one point during the hearing, referring to Imran’s statements at the Faisalabad rally, the IHC CJ asked: “How can you say in public whether an army chief is a patriot or not?”

Justice Minallah said that the armed forces personnel were getting martyred “and you [Imran] are bringing their morale down”.

He also asked the PTI counsel as to why [his party] was harming constitutional institutions. “You will only invite difficulties as a result of your statements,” he said.

“Did you hear Imran Khan’s speech from yesterday? Do political leaders deliver such speeches? Will everything be put at stake just for the sake of a ‘Game of Thrones’?” the IHC CJ asked, making a reference to the popular television drama in which nine noble families wage war against each other to gain control over a mythical land.

IHC CJ Minallah said that the armed forces lay their lives for the nation and in a case where someone is involved in illegal activity, everyone should not be criticised over it.

“Hold yourself accountable for your actions. You [Khan] want to issue statements as per your wishes and don’t want the regulator to do its job?”

Following this, the IHC, in light of the rulings of the Supreme Court, asked PEMRA to regulate the speeches of Khan and wrapped up the case filed by the PTI chairman.