ISLAMABAD            -             The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday withdrew the contempt of court notices against Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan after accepting their apology.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah announced the verdict which was reserved on the previous hearing after both of them tendered unconditional apologies for their remarks.

The IHC bench noted in the verdict, “However, this court, despite the gravity of the offence, restrains itself from handing down a conviction and sentencing both the alleged contemnors because during the course of these proceedings it appeared to this court that there is probably not sufficient awareness in the society regarding the importance of criminal contempt in the context of a pending matter before a court.”

Justice Athar added: “The courts have also ignored this most crucial form of contempt and thus generally there is hardly any appreciation regarding its importance in the society.

Moreover, both the alleged contemnors appear to have realised the consequences of their conduct and have thus tendered unconditional apologies.”

“This court expects that in future they will exercise care by not doing anything that tends to prejudice the determination of pending proceedings or to obstruct or divert the course of justice,” said the verdict.

The bench maintained, “For the above reasons, the petitions are disposed of and consequently the proceedings stand withdrawn.”

Both Dr Firdous and Ghulam Sarwar were present in the court when the court announced its verdict in this matter.

Previously, Justice Athar had remarked that Sarwar was a representative of the federal cabinet and raised questions on the medical board constituted by the government for Nawaz Sharif.

The federal minister stated that he had only expressed doubts about the medical board. The bench observed that by his statement, Sarwar tried to make people lose confidence in institutions and government.

At this, Sarwar offered an unconditional apology to the court. However, the IHC directed him to submit his reply. Then, the minister said that he does not want to contest this case and that is why he is tendering an unconditional apology.

The court had issued separate notices to Sarwar and Awan for their remarks over an IHC verdict that granted bail to former premier Nawaz in the Al-Azizia case on medical grounds.

An Islamabad based lawyer Khalid Mehmood Khan had moved the court. He stated in his petition that in a talk show on a TV channel, Ghulam Sarwar was talking about the “deal” between the government and PML-N leader and alleged that the release of Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz is a result of “deal” between the government and the former prime minister.

The petitioner maintained that the act of the federal minister reflects that the health institutions, jail authorities, medical board and all other institutions of Punjab as well as federal government were involved in the alleged “deal”.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct Sarwar to appear before this court in person and explain the facts of the “deal” between Nawaz Sharif and Government as well as other institutions which were include in the execution of such type of “deal” and if his statement is against the facts and based upon malafide intention then he may be punished under the relevant provisions of law in the best interest of justice.