TERENCE J SIGAMONY

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday issued contempt of court notices to anchorperson Mubashir Luqman and chief executive of the ARY TV channel for maligning the apex court judges in a programme telecast on May 29.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal and comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Mushir Alam, was hearing Independent Media Group's petition.

Deputy Attorney General Kh Ahmed Hassan was ordered to explain why chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) could not be appointed and why the regulatory body was being run on ad hoc basis.

The clips of Mubashir Luqman's programme had been aired in the courtroom in the past. The court had directed for preparing the transcripts of the programme. After going through the transcripts the bench observed that there were many things in the programme which prima facie required initiation of contempt proceeding against Mubashir Luqman and the chief executive of ARY TV channel under Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.

The deputy AG informed the bench that a committee has been formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to review the code of conduct for both print and electronic media after repeated attacks on the judiciary during the last few months.

During the proceedings, Justice Ijaz Chaudhry said that Pemra has been made ineffective, as no permanent chairman has been appointed. "If the chairman had been appointed then there was no need for Supreme Court to intervene into the matter."

He said that in the absence of a Pemra chairman there have been repeated attacks on the dignity of judges, adding that no requisite action has been taken as yet.

The bench adjourned the hearing till September 15.