LAHORE - Asma Jahangir, the counsel of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief, yesterday refused to submit written-apology over what she had said about members of the full bench of the Lahore High Court hearing petitions seeking registration of high treason case against the MQM chief .

A full bench headed by Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was hearing the petitions filed against the MQM chief for allegedly criticising Pakistan Army, Rangers and other state institutions in his speeches.

As hearing commenced, the petitioners’ counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique and Advocate Aftab Virk told the bench that Asma Jahangir had used contemptuous language against the judges on order banning coverage of MQM chief’s activities in both electronic and print media.

They said that she had criticised a sub judice matter in a TV program. They also played recording of the program saying Asma Jahangir had become habitual of committing contempt of court.

When the bench asked her about her statement, Asma Jahangir tendered her verbal apology over her contemptuous remarks. When the bench asked her to submit written apology she said “I don’t like to write what I don’t accept from my heart”.

Asma said “I am apologising not for the judges holding the bench but for the sanctity of the institution (judiciary).”

After a short interval, the bench resumed its proceedings with the same question. Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who was heading the bench, remarked “You (Ms Jahangir) have double standards as you speak different and do different.” The bench asked her to submit her written apology but she insisted on verbal apology.

Asma said “judges decide matters on the chits of the petitioners; such decisions I don’t accept.” She refused to submit written-apology and showed her distrust on the bench.

After exchange of harsh words between her and members of the bench, the lawyers of both sides started criticising each other and the same did supporters of both sides.

At this, Lahore High Court Bar Association’s president Pir Masood Chishti intervened and requested the bench to adjourn the hearing of the matter for being of sensitive nature. The bench accepted his plea and adjourned the hearing for March 28, with directions to the petitioners’ counsel to submit civil miscellaneous application over what had happened in the court.

The both parties’ supporters continued sloganeering outside the courtroom. However, a lawyer approached Old Anarkali Police Station and filed an application to lodge FIR against all those who created unrest in the court and chanted slogans against judiciary.

The sources told The Nation that Asma Jahangir approached Chief Justice Ijazul Ahsan and pleaded him to transfer the case to any other bench.

On September 7, 2015, the bench had banned media coverage of MQM chief’s activities on both electronic and print media for his alleged speeches against Pakistan Army, Rangers and other state institutions.