Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court (SC) ordered police on Wednesday to produce firebrand Pakistan Peoples Party leader, Faisal Raza Abidi in court after a contempt case was lodged against him.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, conducted the hearing of the contempt case and remarked that the channel, which aired anti-judiciary tirade of Abidi, should be ashamed.

The top judge also ordered a contempt notice to be issued for the private TV channel which aired the comments of former PPP senator during a show.

“Does this qualify as freedom for speech, did they not see the program before broadcasting it?” questioned Justice Nisar.

CJP slams media outlets for misinterpreting LHC’s ban on contemptuous speech

During the hearing, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the channel appeared in court and admitted that broadcasting the program was a mistake.

To the admission, the top judge remarked that if it was a mistake, then he should submit response to the contempt notice.

At this, the CEO responded by saying that they have tendered an apology and terminated the anchor as well.

However, the chief justice rejected the apology and adjourned the hearing till May 3.

On Tuesday, the apex court had issued a contempt notice to former senator Faisal Raza Abidi after he used derogatory language against the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on a private television channel.

Besides the apex court’s directives, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) also banned the channel’s programme for three months, in addition to imposing a fine of Rs1 million.

The media watchdog had issued a show cause notice to the channel on Friday and sought an explanation over the reported anti-judiciary remarks.

It bears mentioning that the Lahore High Court had placed a ban on airing of anti-judiciary comments, on a slew of petitions on Monday.

The directives were misinterpreted in a way that leading publications singled out former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, however, the apex court on Tuesday upheld the decision, implying that the ban was enforced in the pretext of Article 19 and 68 of the constitution which ensures the sanctity of judiciary.