ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court bench on Tuesday expelled counsels representing a private TV channel in a contempt of court case from the courtroom after they exchanged hot words with the judge.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also expressed his displeasure for misinterpreting the verdict of the court in a programme “Report Card” and directed the lawyers of the private channel to leave the court for their continuous arguments in the matter.
It was February 20 when the IHC bench had taken notice about a discussion regarding the Valentine Day in a Geo TV programme “Report Card” and directed the Geo News Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mir Ibrahim Rehman, anchor of the programme Ayesha Bakhsh and participants Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam to personally appear before the court to explain that “why contempt of court proceedings may not be initiated against them and why the PERA may not be directed to initiate proceedings for the cancellation of licence of the channel Geo News.”
Later on, the respondents challenged the single bench order dated Feb 20 that is also fixed for hearing next week. The IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on February 26 had suspended the paras 3&4 of the single bench order that were related to the personal appearance of the respondents.
Therefore, the IHC single bench on Tuesday directed producer of the programme to appear before the court on March 8, the next date of hearing of this matter.
During the hearing, the counsels for the private TV channel adopted before the bench that this court has no jurisdiction in this matter. Upon this, Justice Siddiqui said, let attendance be completed and then the court would also hear the objections raised by the defendants.
Justice Siddiqui directed the legal counsel to read out the Feb 13, 2017 order of the bench, adding where the order tells that a ban was imposed on the individual celebration of the Valentine Day. He said that ban was only specific with regard to celebrations at public places and publicity of the Day on electronic media.
He asked where the court has stopped Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam from presenting flowers at their homes. They both have gone past the age of presenting flowers. Now they can only give cauliflowers, he added.
The counsels argued that both Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam are veteran journalists and they have rendered sacrifices for democracy and rule of law. At this, Justice Siddiqui said that such senior journalists are ridiculing the court’s order. Addressing the counsels, Justice Siddiqui said that make them understand that no comment could be made on a sub-judice matter.
The IHC bench expressed its annoyance over the issue that why these intellectuals are trying to impose on Valentine Day on us. They are using different names for the court, calling it ‘mentally ill’, it added.
The bench said that they want to impose a bad custom on our society. Imtiaz Alam should replace his name with Valentine Alam. At this, the legal counsels said the court should not pass personal remarks. There are many references pending against the judge of this court.
Justice Siddiqui said that ask Imtiaz Alam to file even 10 more references against him. There was an exchange of harsh words as well and the court directed the counsels to leave the court.
Earlier, Justice Siddiqui had noted in his February 20 order that one part of the programme relating to the order passed by this court against the promotion of Valentine’s Day was not only ridiculed, disrespected, but was discussed in a very derogatory manner.
Prima facie, host, Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam without showing any respect or keeping in view the restrictions imposed by the article 19 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 i.e. freedom of speech, etc. cross all limits of decency and morality.