Imran disappointed over giving 'clean slate' to ROs
28 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has expressed disappointment over the superior judiciary (National Judicial Policy Making Committee) for condoning the acts of district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs) and giving them a clean chit during the meeting of all high courts and the Supreme Court's chief justices on June 8.
As the three-member bench of the SC, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, hears the PTI chairman's contempt case today (Wednesday), Imran through his five-member team of lawyers, led by Hamid Khan, on Tuesday submitted a 21-page explanation in the apex court.
Submitting a comprehensive explanation, Imran Khan contended that the word sharamnaak (shameful) used by him was never meant to be an abuse to anyone, not even for the DROs and the ROs, and added that it was rather used in the sense or context of unbecoming and that "it is humbly submitted that it may kindly be construed so".
"Since the conduct of these judicial officers – appointed as DROs and ROs – is now directly an issue in the proceeding before the election tribunals and other courts, it may be in the interest of justice that no view may kindly be expressed by the Supreme Court in respect of them," he further requested.
The PTI chief stated that the NJPMC in its meeting on June 8 had expressed satisfaction over the performance of the DROs and the ROs during the election process, and issued a press release in this regard.
It is to be noted that the NJPMC consists of the chief justices of the five high courts, and Supreme Court. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the chairman of the NJPMC.
"It was indeed shocking to the PTI and its candidates. They felt that their cases have already been prejudged by the NJPMC. It appeared that the acts of the DROs and ROs had been condoned and they were given a clean chit by a body of such high standing. After this, what could they expect from the ECP or the election tribunals? A large number of the aggrieved candidates of the PTI did not file election petitions because of disappointments arising out of such a press release," Imran Khan said.
Objecting to the SC's July 24 decision to change the presidential election's schedule, he claimed that the unfair election process had resulted in the unfortunate exit of chief election commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim.
In his reply, the PTI chairman opened another Pandora's box stating that the most shocking thing that happened during the course of the elections was the obvious bias of certain members of the ECP in favour of the political party (PML-N), which had nominated them as members of the ECP.
He also mentioned that the PTI was of the considered view that it had been deprived of at least 25 seats of the National Assembly in Punjab through colossal rigging and electoral fraud, and added that it had also been deprived of at least six to eight seats in the province of Sindh through such rigging and electoral fraud.
Supporting his arguments, Imran khan said that his past services to the cause of rule of law and independence of judiciary might be construed in his favour to conclude that he would neither commit contempt of court, nor would ever scandalise the court or bring a judge into hatred, ridicule or contempt.
He maintained that his criticism was positive and he did not target the judiciary in his press statements or addresses.
He said that criticism of the ECP, DROs and ROs was directly at their performance. "In any case, comments against the workings of the DROs and ROs do not constitute contempt of court whatsoever. Fair comments even on the working of the judiciary do not fall within the scope of the 'contempt of court' law," he added.