ISLAMABAD - Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, the Editor-in-Chief of The News and Jang, on Wednesday rendered a verbal apology before the Supreme Court over his earlier defamatory remarks about a judge of the top court after he failed to satisfy the court in a hearing on Wednesday.

Wearing white shalwar kameez with a matching waistcoat, the chief executive of Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman was sitting in second-last row of the courtroom number 1 from the very beginning of the proceedings.

However, his case was called at the end when almost ninety per cent of participants had left the courtroom, and only a few lawyers and reporters were sitting to witness this case.

Soon he came to the rostrum, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said: “Mir Sab, we have given you a lot of respect, but it is enough now.”

“You have used the defamatory remarks about a judge of the Supreme Court,” Nisar said, adding: “You have also threatened by saying that you will file a case against the judge.”

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman replied that we have a long struggle for the judiciary and I cannot even think to defame the court and said: “My press talk was misquoted and reported out of context by a section of media.”

“You want to take a price of your struggle (for Judiciary) by defaming the judges and courts,” the chief justice interrupted the media tycoon and directed court’s staff to play Rehman’s press talk on the projector.

The court suspended its proceeding for a few minutes and judges left the courtroom as there was a technical hindrance in playing the video.

Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman hinted indirectly that the whole episode (launch of contempt case) is a result for his resistance to accepting the demands of certain quarters during an informal talk with reporters present in the court while the court was on short break.

Reporters reminded him that the apex court had already dropped the instant charge of contempt in an earlier hearing and advised Rehman to mention the fact before the court.

When the proceedings resumed, a selected piece of video was played on a projector in which Rehman was replying a question asked by a reporter outside the Supreme Court building regarding a judge’s remarks about his alleged involvement in the stock market.

Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman could be heard as saying: “I did not hear this thing if it happened, it is very foolish talk (Bahoda Baat),” adding: “If it is in my power, I constitute a case upon the judge who said this thing.”

After viewing the video, the chief justice directly addressed Rehman and said: “Go and file a case against us.” Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman replied: “I was meant to file a reference.”

“Then go and file a reference or whatsoever you want,” Justice Saqib Nisar said, adding: “Mir Sab, it is your responsibility, being the head of the biggest media organisation, to protect the sanctity of the court and ensure its respect.”

The chief justice further said, we are witnessing that how your organisation is being used to malign the judiciary and what your anchors are doing nowadays.

“I know all this happens just because of your backing,” the chief justice remarked.

Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman replied that the anchors working in his organisation are independent and he speaks with them when anybody complains against them.

He also tried to mention that the court had already dropped the same contempt charges against him but the chief justice replied: “That was a suo motu case and now we are hearing a writ petition in this regard.”

The CEO Jang Group once again tried to convince the bench by arguing that he did not say anything wrong because he was not sure that these remarks were passed by a judge.

“I just replied to a question asked by a reporter who alleged my involvement in stock market referring to a statement of the Supreme Court’s judge,” he explained.

Justice Faisal Arab questioned that let’s suppose if these remarks were passed, then we assume that you will threaten the judges. Your remarks gave an impression that you have threatened the Supreme Court’s judge,” he added.  

The chief justice further said that he is the custodian of the whole institution of the judiciary and if he does not protect the sanctity of other judges, he will become fail in performing his duties.

Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman regreted several times over his press talks with specific justifications, but the court did not accept it while the petitioner also argued that the words used by media tycoon were defamatory.

The legal counsel of Rehman requested the court to dispose of the case as his client has already expressed his regrets but the chief justice rejected the same, replying: “He is not saying anything by his own mouth.”

Resultantly, Mir Shakeel ur Rehman tendered his verbal apology and excused for the language used by him and an impression given at large by his wording.

However, the court rejected the verbal apology and directed him to submit a written apology in categorical form.

The court adjourned the proceedings till today.