Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who was criticized by the ruling alliance for greeting former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Supreme Court with the words “good to see you”, clarified today that it was part of court etiquette and had no political connotation. .
Chief Justice Bandial made these remarks during Imran Khan’s appearance before the Supreme Court after his arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case sparked violent protests from his supporters.
A federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Bandial Khan’s way of greeting the leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party was a blot on the face of the country’s judiciary.
Chief Justice Bandial clarified his behaviour, saying “I am criticized for greeting Khan in the same way; however, I often use this expression”.
“I hold everyone in high esteem because respect and courtesy are important to everyone,” Geo TV quoted him as saying.
“Everyone deserves basic respect and good manners,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The dramatic arrest of Imran Khan led miscreants to set fire to and damage more than 80 law enforcement vehicles, in addition to damaging 14 state buildings/installations in Punjab province.
The miscreants, who are mostly members of Mr Khan’s PTI, set fire to the Corps Commander House known as Jinnah House in Lahore to vent their anger over Khan’s arrest.
Mr Khan was released on bail on Friday by a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Bandial after the National Accountability Bureau arrested him on charges of accepting millions of dollars worth of property in exchange for providing benefits to a real estate tycoon.
The ruling alliance staged a sit-in just outside the top court on Monday, with PML-N chief organizer Maryam Nawaz Sharif demanding Bandial’s resignation on Monday, blaming him for Pakistan’s “anarchy” and “crisis”.
Prime Minister Sharif’s led cabinet has also condemned Bandial’s intervention in the arrest of Khan, who is facing more than 120 cases across the country.
In a speech to the cabinet, Prime Minister Sharif called the “double standards of justice”.
Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a motion seeking the formation of a special committee to bring a case against Bandial to the Supreme Judicial Council for his “misconduct and deviating from oath”, raising tension between the government and the supreme judiciary escalates.
The motion, introduced by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was passed unanimously by the House, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in the National Assembly that it is time for Parliament to play its constitutional role in this situation.
Mr. Asif demanded the formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the wrongful support of the judiciary to former Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as sending a notification to the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution on the matter .
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)