IHC summons newspaper’s head on May 30

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday summoned Jang/Geo Media Group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman to appear before the court over anti-judiciary advertisements published in English daily The News International over the past two days.

A single bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions while taking notice of the matter and also directed Mir Shakilur Rehman and the newspaper’s editor, Amir Ghauri, to submit affidavits tendering apology.

These ads, according to the media outlet, were sponsored by the family of Barrister Fahad Malik, who was gunned down in Islamabad in 2016. It called on Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial to take notice, claiming that the killers “had struck a deal with the ruling judge in the case.”

During the hearing, Ghauri appeared before the court and adopted the stance that the advertisements printed by the paper did not come under “journalistic reporting.”

Justice Athar said that you used the picture of the Chief Justice of Pakistan in the advertisements and this matter could not be ignored at all. The IHC CJ said that the newspaper had printed advertisements against the judiciary for commercial purposes. He said that printing such an advertisement is a serious issue.

Anti-judiciary advertisements publication

The newspaper’s editor apologised to the court over the advertisements but the IHC CJ reiterated that this matter could not be ignored. Justice Athar said that ask Mir Shakilur Rehman to personally appear before the court. Ghauri told the court that the family of Barrister Fahad Malik had commissioned the advertisement and publishing the advertisement was an unintentional mistake.

The IHC CJ said that you published the advertisement for two days and now you are saying that it was an unintentional mistake. He added that it had accused a judge of making a deal.  He further said that this has become a joke where one feels they can say anything about the judiciary.

The lawyer representing Jang/Geo Media Group thanked the court for taking notice and said that it had printed an apology in today’s edition and Wednesday’s edition was also presented before the court.

Justice Athar said that the court would not make any concessions in this matter. Then, the IHC bench directed Mir Shakilur Rehman to appear in person before the court on the next hearing to be held on May 30.

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