In the contempt proceedings case, former Pakistan PM Imran Khan expressed his willingness to apologize to the female judge Zeba Chaudhry whom he had threatened in one of his rallies in Islamabad on August 20.
Khan tended to offer his apology in order to dodge imprisonment and ban from contesting elections for the next five years. Pakistan has general elections next year in October and Khan is a strong candidate for the next PM of Pakistan.
What happened in the court: Khan appeared in the court on Thursday (September 22) in front of larger bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC), headed by IHC CJ Athar Minallah.
During today's hearing, Khan took the stand and sought permission to speak, saying last time he did not get to speak. "I am ready to apologize to the female judge," he said to the court, Pakistani news agency Dawn reported.
He further said,"The court thinks that I have crossed the line. My intention was not to threaten the female judge. If the court says so, I am ready to personally go to the judge and apologize."
"I am sorry if I crossed the line. I assure the court that I will not do something like this in the future," Khan concluded his statement.
The IHC court hearing the apology asked him to submit an affidavit detailing whatever he has said in the court.
The bench also said that it was Khan's personal decision to visit the judge in person. "If you have realized your mistake, then go apologize for it, that is enough," the court remarked.
The hearing was adjourned till October 3.
What was the contempt of court case? On August 20, Khan, in one of his rallies, had issued an open threat to Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and two other police officials for extending the detention of his aide, Shahbaz Gill.
Gill was arrested by the Islamabad Police on August 9 on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions. Imran Khan had alleged that Gill was not arrested but abducted by unknown men in a car which had no number plate. He had also accused the police of torturing Gill in police custody.
A case under the anti-terrorism act was lodged against Khan on the day he made the speeches.
A timeline of the case:
August 20: FIR lodged under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against Imran Khan for passing controversial remarks against judge Zeba Chaudhry.
August 22: Islamabad High Court (IHC) decides to initiate contempt proceedings against Khan.
August 23: IHC issues Khan a show cause notice, asks him to be present before the court on August 31
August 25: Khan approaches court and gets a pre-arrest bail till September 1 in the terror case.
August 31: Khan submits his response, expresses regrets over comments but doesn't apologise for the comments.
September 7: Khan submits another response, the jury again finds it unsatisfactory and decides to indict him in the sedition case.
September 19: Islamabad High Court orders the withdrawal of the terrorism case against Khan.
September 22: Khan offered to apologize to female judge whom he had threatened
What if Imran was convicted: If convicted, Khan would be sent behind bars, as well as debarred from contesting elections for the next five years.
Also, he wouldn't have been the first one. Former Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and several other parliamentarians have previously been convicted for contempt of court and disqualified from contesting elections for five years.
Legal options Imran Khan had: Legal analysts previously said that in such a case, the only legal remedy was that the accused gives an unconditional apology without any justification, stating that they are at the mercy of court, if he is not contesting the case.
Imran Khan, on his part in the last two hearings did not issue any apology. In one of his responses to the court, he had expressed willingness to take back his words about the judge if they were regarded as inappropriate. He had also asked the judges who had initiated the case against him to withdraw from the case as they had pre-judged the matter.
The court, however, found the response unsatisfactory and asked Khan to submit a "well-considered" response, Dawn reported.
In another of his responses, again he did not issue an apology and only said, "I have profound regard and respect for this honourable court and its subordinate courts and judges."
The jury again found his response unsatisfactory and decided to indict him formally in the sedition case.
Imran Khan's tiff with Pakistan government: Khan has locked horns with the Pakistan government as well as the army after he was ousted from power in April this year.
He claimed that outside powers (particularly US) conspired with the opposition forces in Pakistan to topple his government. The former Pakistani PM had also accused the army of being hand-in-glove with the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition.
Imran Khan has been organising several rallies in different parts of the country, where he is seen bitterly criticising the Pakistani government and the army.
In Pakistan, governments are said to change under the tutelage of the Pakistani Army, which holds the strings of power; a charge that leaders and the army have both denied.