ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Thursday directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to strictly monitor the programmes of a private TV channel in question.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Mushir Alam resumed the contempt case against the chief executive and anchorperson of a private television and for airing anti-judiciary programme. The court took strong notice of frequent changing of counsel by the channel’s chief executive, hinting if he continued to do then his name will be put on Exit Control List (ECL). During the proceeding, Abid Zubairi, counsel for the accused, submitted before the court that Anwar Mansoor Khan, new counsel for the CE has sought adjournment for two weeks as he was abroad. “You are frequently changing counsels in order to delay the proceedings of the instant case?” Justice Ijaz asked from the CE, adding he should face the case boldly and abstain from using delaying tactics. The judge remarked, “you first air the programme to malign people then tender apology and after tendering apology again air the programme.” “Now a days you are airing about High Court judges,” Justice Ijaz continued. The CE, however, claimed he was ignorant of the said programme saying it was very difficult for him to monitor every programme and ticker. He said there are over 3,000 employees and anchors in his channel.

“You are well aware as every program is the outcome of the policy, which comes from the top management therefore you are responsible,” Justice Chaudhry told the channel chief.

The judge asked him; “Your channel also runs some good programs including on religious issues.

During the course of hearing, the court directed General Manager PEMRA, Muhammad Tahir, who was present in the courtroom, to strictly monitor the programmes aired by the said television channel. The court after rejecting the unconditional apologies, submitted by the accused framed charges of contempt against them for maligning the judiciary while airing a programme.

During the proceeding, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti appeared before the court and submitted that Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt was abroad adding that they had already submitted the list of evidences, affidavits and other documents in the instant contempt case.

The court adjourning the case till April 9 asking the ARY Chief that if his lawyer remain absent, proceeding in the instant case will continue.