ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ARY TV Channel Salman Iqbal and anchorperson Mubashir Luqman for airing programmes against higher judiciary.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued the arrest warrants while hearing a contempt of court petition moved by President District Bar Association (DBA) Islamabad Naseer Ahmad Kayani through his counsel Syed Nayab Hassan Gerdezi against ARY TV Channel that is airing malicious contents against superior judiciary despite orders of the IHC.

During the hearing, Federal Information Secretary Dr Nazir Ahmad Saeed, Acting Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Pervez Rathore and Deputy Attorney General Tariq Khokhar appeared before the court.

The counsel representing PEMRA submitted CD of the Programme Khara Sach before the court.

However, CEO of ARY channel and Mubashir Luqman did not appeared before the court. Therefore, the court issued their bailabe arrest warrants and deferred the hearing till the first week of August for further proceedings in this regard.

In the petition, the petitioner had cited ARY news channel through its Chief Executive Salman Iqbal and anchorperson Mubashir Luqman, PEMRA and ministry of information as respondents and maintained before the court that the respondents had been trying to undermine the hard earned independence of judiciary. He argued before the court that the constitution of Pakistan safeguards the well being and integrity of the judiciary in all respects. He added that some vested quarters have not been able to digest the emergence of strong and independent judiciary and they are trying to undermine the judicial authority by stigmatising and loose media campaign.

He contended that recently respondents started targeting the Supreme Court of Pakistan in general and Justice Jawad S Khawaja in particular without any lawful justification. Kayani was of the view that ARY through its programme Khara Sach has splashed dirt on the fair face of judiciary. The petitioner contended that PEMRA and ministry of information had taken no action in this regard.

He told the court that IHC time and again directed the respondents ARY and Mubashir Luqman to refrain from such activities but PEMRA and ministry of information paid no heed to the court orders.

The petitioner also produced before the court CDs of the program Khara Sach and prayed that the notices be issued to the respondents, they be tried for contempt of court and be punished accordingly.