ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday issued notices to ministry of information, acting chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Salman Iqbal, CEO ARY News Channel, and Mubashir Luqman, anchorperson ARY, in a contempt of court petition for airing programmes against judiciary.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed them to appear before the court and explain why this contemptuous act was committed continuously and why the regulatory authority did not take action.

In its order, the IHC single bench noted, “Since the programme (Khara Sach) aired from May 22 to 31, 2014, apparently is an attack on the institution of judiciary which prima facie, constitutes an offence of contempt of court.” The court also directed acting chairman PEMRA to produce CDs of the programme “Khara Sach” from May 22 to 31 and also of 12th of June 2014, as through the programme another order of this court dated June 11, 2014 has not only been frustrated but ridiculed as well. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that it is a matter of record that different institutions have been targeted by different channels, but unfortunately persons involved in spreading hatred against the institutions have neither been booked in any case nor any restriction has been imposed to check their unlawful acts.

The counsel further submitted that Mubashir Luqman while conducting programme on Dunya TV Channel was caught red-handed while asking for irrelevant consideration and due to that stinking act, he was expelled from Dunya TV Channel but through efforts of some hidden hands, he was accommodated by ARY channel. The malicious campaign against the institution of judiciary crossed all limits but the regulatory authority took no action to stop this malicious campaign.

The counsel added that the institution of judiciary and bar always respected the electronic and print media but unfortunately very few in number amongst the journalists are bringing bad name to the journalism and, therefore, their own vested interests are bent on to attack the institution. This situation may constrained the legal fraternity to ask this court and the federal government to constitute a commission to probe into the assets of the anchorpersons and their families, sources to which their properties raised, foreign countries in which they are in contact, money which they received from difference sources and gifts which they accept, fleet of cars, vehicles which they keep, foreign tours and the hotels in which they live, shopping made on whose expense and also to ask about the tax they pay and to know that they live beyond their means. It can also be questioned what type of gifts reach to their houses from different embassies and from other persons, which are the channels and anchors who are on pay roll of the land mafia and are found watching its interests in consideration of plots which they took.

This contempt of court petition was moved by the DBA Islamabad through its counsel Syed Nayab Hassan Gerdezi against ARY TV channel that is airing malicious contents against superior judiciary despite orders of the IHC.

The petitioner cited ARY news channel through its Chief Executive Salman Iqbal, Mubashir Luqman, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and ministry of information as respondents and contended adopted before the court that the respondents had been trying to undermine the hard earned independence of judiciary.

He argued that the constitution of Pakistan safeguards the well being and integrity of the judiciary in all respects but 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.

The petitioner added that respondents recently have started targeting the Supreme Court of Pakistan in general and Justice Jawad S Khawaja in particular without any lawful justification. He contended that PEMRA and ministry of information have taken no action in this regard.

He informed 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 programme ‘Khara Sach’ and prayed that the notices be issued to the respondents, they be tried for contempt of court and punished accordingly.

After issuing the aforementioned order, Justice Siddiqui deferred hearing in this matter till first week of July.