Defame, insult and if court seeks proof, invent pretexts -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Defame, insult and if court seeks proof, invent pretexts

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Defame, insult and if a court seeks proofs, then use traditional weapons such as presenting medical certificates. If the judge discovers the fabricated pretexts, then withdraw them. These tactics are being used by a private TV channel’s owner and anchor in cases filed by the Jang Group.

Bailable arrest warrants of ARY channel owner Salman Iqbal were issued on Tuesday for failing to appear before the court despite repeated assurances in the case of defaming Geo TV and Jang Group by raising baseless allegations.

Additional District and Sessions Court Judge Wajid Ali Khan directed Salman Iqbal to file Rs20,000 surety bonds and appear on the next hearing. The court, however, accepted an application for one-day exception from court appearance filed by other accused, including Mubasher Lucman, Aqeel Kareem Dhedhi and Arif Hamid Bhatti. The hearing was adjourned till November 17.

The Independent Media Corporation, on the behalf of Geo TV and Jang Group, filed a criminal case against Iqbal, ARY TV Islamabad Bureau Chief Sabir Shakir, Mubasher Lucman, Arif Hamid Bhatti, Aqeel Kareem Dhedi and Lahore-based Naeem Hanif for defaming the Group by raising baseless allegations.

On the last hearing, Mubasher Lucman and Salman Iqbal were granted exemptions from appearance in court for one day. They also did not appear in the court on Tuesday. Independent Media Corporation lawyer Aamir Abdullah Abbasi, advocate, told the court that ARY TV Islamabad Bureau Chief Sabir Shakir had informed the court on the last hearing that Salman Iqbal had reached Karachi from the US but could not travel to Islamabad because of being unwell. He argued that the court was assured on the last hearing that Salman Iqbal would appear before it on Tuesday but he did not do so and his non-bailable warrants should be issued.

At this point, the court was told that Salman Iqbal was out of the country on account of his business, so he should be granted an exemption from appearance for a day. The court rejected this plea.

The court was presented a medical certificate mentioning that Mubasher Lucman was ill. His lawyer said that Mubasher Lucman wanted to appear before the court despite his illness but his flight was cancelled due to bad weather, so he should be granted an exemption from appearance in the court.

Aamir Abdullah Abbasi, advocate, said that Mubasher Lucman conducted his programmes on TV regularly but had presented the third medical certificate in the court only to excuse himself from appearance. He said the record of cancellation of the flight should be sought from PIA to learn if it really was cancelled due to bad weather.

Upon this, Mubasher Lucman’s lawyer took back his argument of flight cancellation. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till November 17.

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