ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to frame contempt of court charge against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Amir Liaqat Hussain.
He will be indicted on next date of hearing fixed for September 27.
On August 10, the top court had issued Contempt of Court (CoC) notice to Hussain for violating the undertaking he gave to the top court.
Hussain in his undertaking had assured the top court that he will not incite viewers and spread the hatred among general public by propaganda against media persons and others through a current affairs programme at Bol Network.
He had also assured the top court that he would never conduct such programme which could fall within the Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002.
Hussain, who is elected for the seat of National Assembly from NA-245 Karachi on ticket of PTI, is directed to submit the reply as to why contempt of court charge should not be framed against him. The top court has directed Hussain to file reply within two weeks.
Contempt of court case was initiated against Hussain by anchorperson Shahzaib Khanzada for violating earlier undertakings of the former that he will not again use hate speech or derogatory language against individuals, including media persons.
The top court has also rejected the application, what Hussain termed as apology. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three judge bench, rejected the apology and observed that this was not an apology in the eye of law.
The other two judges of three-judge bench were Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
Justice Ahsan noted that two main parts of written apology, including the word apology and throwing contemnor on the mercy of the court, were mentioned in the application.
However, chief justice was of the view that instead of tendering apology, Hussain contested his case and stated he would not accept the allegation of contempt. “He did so because there were ‘consequences’ then,” observed chief justice, questioning as to whether he will remain the Member of National Assembly or not after indictment in contempt case.
Shahab Sarki, the counsel representing Hussain, responded in negation.
Faisal Siddiqui, counsel for Independent Media Corporation, informed the bench that it was straightaway the case of contempt because Hussain had submitted what he had been arguing. He further contended that the bench was continuously being misguided.
Chief justice further observed that the courts always expressed magnanimity but this will not be tolerable adding the bench was not sitting here to be humiliated. A number of clips of Hussain's television programmes were also played in the courtroom. “Since it is the penal action so we have to be careful,” observed chief justice. He however added that the court was going to frame the charge.
The applications were filed by Independent Media Corporation and Anchor Shahzeb Khanzada against Hussain wherein it was requested to the top court to initiated contempt of court proceedings against Hussain on account of violation of his undertaking that he will never spread hatred through his programme.
The top court in March last year had prohibited Hussain from hatred speech programme. The application had argued that Hussain in one of his TV programmes had accused Khanzada of supporting blasphemy convicts.
It further stated that the serious allegations had also been levelled against Najam Sethi.
During the previous hearing on August 10, Siddiqui had invited the attention of bench to the order dated March 6 of 2017, whereby Hussain was prohibited to deliver hatred content in his programme. He also pointed out the material which according to him not only violated the top court’s earlier order but the PEMRA laws as well.
Siddiqui had contended before the bench that alleged contemnor Hussain had time and again been made part of various legal proceedings because of his never ending defamatory campaigns and unethical modes of conducting televisions shows over several years.
He had recalled the top court’s March last year order and said that Hussain was restrained from conducting any such programme which was likely to create hatred among the people or was prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or was likely to disturb public peace.
He had further submitted that Hussain had time and again called his clients traitors in his show namely Aisay Nahi Chalayga adding he was running an active campaign against his clients to defame and bring disrespect to them.
Even after the orders of top court, the alleged contemnor did not stop with his defamatory campaign and continued to use offensive and insulting language against his clients, he added.