Case filed in SC against Abidi, TV anchor, Pemra
By: Usman Manzoor & Sohail Khan
ISLAMABAD: A contempt of court petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, a private TV anchor and Dr Abdul Jabbar, acting chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), for deliberately maligning the judiciary and criticising the person of the chief justice of Pakistan and letting all this happen.
Tariq Asad Advocate, in his contempt of court petition, has mentioned that Abidi hurled allegations at the chief justice just to please President Asif Ali Zardari, who according to Asad, is not happy with Abidi these days.
“That Senator Faisal Raza Abidi had resigned as the president of Karachi Division PPP on account of some political reasons. It is learnt that President Zardari is unhappy with him and thus he is trying to please him by all means. To achieve the same objective, he, on the other day, had said that whoever says anything against Zardari, commits ‘Kufr’.” Then with the understanding that criticising the chief justice is appreciated by Zardari, he left no stone unturned to say all against the chief justice of Pakistan in a private TV programme, whose host is husband of Mehr Bukhari.
The petitioner mentioned in his petition regarding Pemra chairman that Dr Abdul Jabbar is the acting chairman and custodian of Pemra appointed in the current position against all the bye-laws and normal practice. He, too, adopts such a policy by which his boss, Zardari, is pleased so that he might be confirmed as a permanent Pemra chairman, he added.
“On 2nd August, 2012, between 8.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m., a programme on a channel was deliberately telecast to malign the Hon Chief Justice of Pakistan (HCJ) in which the Senator Abidi constantly uttered extremely objectionable and contemptuous remarks and comments about the HCJ during the whole programme of about one hour, but Pemra did not take any notice and let the programme continue ‘live’ from which it transpired that it had been telecast deliberately and intentionally.
“The guest Faisal Raza Abidi did not close his big mouth throughout the programme and continued shouting and throwing stinky sludge on the HCJ in humiliating manner. He openly personalised the HCJ and demonstrated his filthy language to ensure as if there was no law of contempt now and every Tom and Jerry is free to comment in a filthy language on the judges of Superior Courts. The Senator vehemently passed humiliating remarks against the HCJ and judiciary in his Press Conference addressed on 05-08-2012 and also criticised the judgment of Supreme Court. In the circumstances mentioned hereinabove, it is, therefore prayed that the respondents be dealt with in accordance with law of contempt of court,” the petitioner stated.
Abidi also addressed a press conference at the National Press Club in Islamabad in which he repeated all the allegations and later also appeared on Monday on another private TV channel to accuse the chief justice and his son. Dr Arsalan has, in the meanwhile, denied all charges levelled by Senator Abidi. The petitioner requested the Supreme Court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Abidi for passing humiliating remarks against the chief justice and judiciary in his press conference on August 05, criticising the contempt of court act 2012 judgment with a mala fide intention and ridiculing the chief justice.
Tariq Asad filed the petition under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Section 3 and 4 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, making Senator Abidi, Dr Abdul Jabbar and others as respondents. It is an established law by the Supreme Court judgments that the ordinary man has been given ample right to criticise judgments in good faith and temperate language but the heavy duty has been placed upon the TV channels, authors, publishers, editors and politicians, he stated. Hence, it is worth accepting that their responsibility with regard to honour and prestige of the courts is greater than an ordinary citizen, he added.
The petitioner recalled that in the present days, some politicians and lawyers frequently comment in a manner which is prima facie contempt of court but this court avoids strict action in accordance with law; the people take a wrong impression that the court is scared from some personalities, but the petitioner understands that the court avoids unnecessary confrontation. Whatsoever the reason, but such an attitude may undermine the confidence of people in the administration of justice, he said, praying to the apex court to deal with the respondents in accordance with the contempt of court law.