ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had been ridiculing and scandalizing former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in public rallies and meetings for alleged rigging in general elections but his counsels on his behalf are all praise for the ex-CJP.
“There was no nefarious design on our client’s part and he never meant to cause any mental agony or torture or harassment or humiliation to you and injury to your reputation,” said Imran Khan’s reply to the defamation notice issued to him by former Chief Justice.
Advocates Hamid Khan and Ahmed Awais, who have replied to the notice on the instruction of PTI Chairman, said: “We believe it may not be appropriate for former Chief Justice of Pakistan to enter into any personal litigation.”
The former Chief Justice under Section 8 of Defamation Ordinance 2002 has sent notice to Imran Khan for the recovery of Rs 20 billion as damages for mental agony, torture, harassment, humiliation, caused to the family and damaging the reputation and image of ex-CJP.
The reply said whatever has been said by our client was an expression of disappointment due to the failure by the ECP and the judiciary to dispense justice to him and the PTI at every level.
“The language used may not be appropriate but unfortunately so is the nature of discourse during public meetings and political Press conferences. It was only expression of protest and disappointment.”
The counsels appreciated the exercise of self-restraint and tolerance shown by former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and hoped he will continue to do so.
“We hope and expect that such an understanding or tolerance on your part would continue in respect of what had been said against you and you would not take it as personal affront.”
Imran Khan did not seek any revenge or expect any ‘forced justice’ from the Supreme Court. The protests are neither intended to force the judiciary to render a particular verdict nor were meant to divert the course of justice, the reply said.
The reply said that the PTI was disappointed when step motherly treatment at the hands of the judiciary.
The party was pushed into the failed hands of inadequate and insecure Election Tribunals that the party candidates would suffer in limbo for a long time, the reply added.
“Being so sensitive and perceptive, you can certainly understand the agony and disillusionment that our client and his party members had to go through.” They reply said: “You (CJP) deserve every award, distinction and medal conferred upon you. Indeed the entire nation is proud of your accomplishments.”
“We believe that the appointment of judicial officers as DROs and ROs was a step in the right direction. However, their conduct during the general elections is shocking. They became party to unprecedented rigging and electoral fraud, particularly in Sindh and Punjab.”
“Our client and the PTI are trying to unravel and unfold the drama of how the elections was stolen in and around 11 May 2013.”
Around 35 to 40 National Assembly and twice as many Provincial Assembly seats were stolen from PTI and the judiciary did nothing to redress such gross injustice, the reply said.
Imran Khan did not resort to any malicious, scandalous and disparaging language against the judiciary, the reply said.
However, the ROs and DROs performed administrative function during the elections ,therefore, there was no duty cast upon you to protect or defend their role, which turned out to be notorious, the reply further said.
The reply said that National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) had no business to assess the performance of ROs and DROs when their conduct were pending before the ECP and were likely to be taken up by the Election Tribunals.
The reply further said:“The allegation of rigging against ROs does not involve their judicial office or character. We believe that choice of words may not be correct. After lending the services of district judiciary to the ECP, the judiciary should not feel compelled to protect them against allegations. It may be correct that the purpose of NJPMC in interacting with DROs/ROs was to ensure just, fair and honest elections. However, unfortunately, a different perception has generally developed about the entire exercise.”
Monitoring adds: Shortly after a letter detailing the PTI chairman’s response to the ex-chief justice was circulated by the media on Monday, Imran Khan said he stands by his statements regarding Iftikhar Chaudhry’s alleged involvement in rigging the May 2013 elections.
In a Tweet followed by an address to sit-in participants, Imran said he rejects reports that he lauded the former top judge.
A media report quoted founding PTI member Imran Ismail as saying the said letter had been drafted by the lawyer without consultation with Imran Khan. However, the report said that Khan’s counsel Hamid Khan confirmed the letter specifically addressed the legal notice served by Iftikhar Chaudhry and was formulated after discussion with the PTI Chairman.