Arrest warrant for ARY’s Salman Iqbal restored
Court dismisses petition for his non-appearance;
earlier his warrants were issued for not appearing in court
ISLAMABAD: Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here Monday dismissed ARY CEO Salman Iqbal’s petition for non-prosecution that he had filed against his warrants of arrest.
Salman Iqbal’s name was called twice by the court but neither he nor his counsel appeared before the court and hence the petition was dismissed. After this petition was dismissed, Salman Iqbal’s warrants of arrest stand restored.
In this second round of litigation, Salman Iqbal had challenged his warrants of arrest by a district court of Islamabad in a matter where Independent Media Corporation Limited (IMCL) has filed a case under criminal procedure against ARY for leveling false and fabricated allegations against Jang/Geo Group.
Today’s hearing IMCL counsel Amir Abdullah Abbasi appeared before the court and argued that ARY leveled false and fabricated allegations against Jang/Geo Group. The IMCL then filed criminal case against ARY that is pending with trial court since 2014 and could not get adjudicated due to the delaying tactics of the petitioner in the matter. Otherwise this matter could have been decided in three months.
It is to be mention here that this is second round of litigation by Salman Iqbal. Previously a trial court had issued his arrest warrants as he did not appear before the court. He then challenged the arrest warrants before the IHC but the high court directed him to raise this issue before the trial court. After his petition was dismissed by a trial court as well, Iqbal once again filed a petition before the IHC against his arrest warrants.
An IHC bench on May 27, providing Salman Iqbal with interim relief, had issued stay orders against the arrest warrants. The stay order was further extended till June 14 this year. On September 30, the IHC bench, while hearing Salman Iqbal’s petition against his arrest warrants, had remarked that the ARY CEO was provided with an interim relief against his warrants of arrest that was not extended. On last hearing also neither Iqbal nor his counsel had appeared.
Legal counsel for the IMCL argued before the court that Salman Iqbal is not only delaying trial proceedings at the district courts but he is also not appearing at the proceedings of his own application. He is wasting court’s time that is tantamount to contempt of court. He requested the court to dismiss this application.
It is to mention here that the IMCL has filed a case against ARY and an additional district & sessions judge (ADSJ) of Islamabad had issued arrest warrants for ARY CEO Salman Iqbal after he did not appear before the court despite repeated notices.
The ADSJ court had issued the said order at the inquiry report of an ilaqa magistrate who had said that there exist sufficient grounds under which the accused Salman Iqbal, Mubasher Lucman, Sabir Shakir, Arif Hameed Bhatti and Aqeel Karim Dhedhi could be preceded against for leveling false accusation against the IMCL.
The IMCL had filed a criminal complaint before the court against the ARY CEO, ARY Bureau Chief Sabir Shakir and others under section 200 of Criminal Procedure Code for prosecution of the said accused under section 500 and 501 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that is related to punishment for defamation.
The IMCL had challenged the accusation leveled against it in the ARY programme ‘Khara Sach’ dated December 21, 2013 and December 31, 2013.