Do not force court to probe assets: Justice Siddiqui
ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) while hearing a writ petition against defamatory programmes against the judiciary by ARY News channel observed Tuesday that the media was supposed to spread morality among the general masses and spreading of hatred was of no benefit.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ARY Television Salman Iqbal and anchor Mubashir Lucman appeared in person before the court in compliance with its last orders. Mubashir Lucman and Salman Iqbal were accompanied by ARY Islamabad Bureau Chief Sabir Shakir and TV anchor Kashif Abbasi.
During the hearing, the IHC bench issued notices to ARY and Geo Television and directed them to submit reply in this matter.The petitioner, Shohada Foundation of Pakistan Trust (SFPT) of Lal Masjid, has nominated one Ammad Khalid as respondent number 04 in its petition by mentioning his name as “Ammad Khalid C/O Geo”.
Legal counsels for the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) Amjad Bokhari and Raheel Kamran Sheikh sought some time from the court to submit reply at which the court adjourned in the matter till October 20.
While hearing the same petition on Sept 09, the IHC bench had directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to open Geo Television Network by 12:00 midnight. In Tuesday’s hearing this topic didn’t come under discussion as Pemra is yet to submit its reply. However, Pemra counsels Ahmad Hassan Rana and Raja Azhar Mehmood while talking to this correspondent outside the courtroom told that it has issued show cause notices to defiant cable operators.
In the SFPT petition, Justice Siddiqui remarked that he would issue a detailed judgment in this matter. Justice Siddiqui while addressing the ARY CEO said, “You should also watch Mubashir Lucman’s programme. It is not necessary that everything should be brought before the court. You should have a committee of your own that would assess that whether or not the programme coincides with the moral obligations. You people were supposed to spread morality among the masses as nations don’t build up by spreading hatred. You people are doing character assassination of the incumbent and retired judges of the Supreme Court. You also did a programme against the wife of a judge. I don’t know who feed you.”
Justice Siddiqui observed that judges were not even able to defend their selves. He said if someone has a complaint against a judge, he could lodge a complaint before the Supreme Judicial Council. “Stop beating the drums by sitting at a TV channel studio. Don’t force the court to investigate that who raised his assets from where and how. Those who did not own a Honda CD70 motorcycle are now having three land cruisers. How did they get banglows in the posh areas of Islamabad,” Justice Siddiqui said.
“Mr Salman I am addressing you. You should realize what you have been doing. Constitution of Pakistan provides right to defend. As per Constitution, nothing could be said against Pakistan Army and judiciary. It is a matter of two sensitive institutions of the country but Pemra may have been sleeping,” the IHC judge said. “I don’t know if it (Pemra) is in deep slumber or intoxicated,” he said.
Counsel for Mubashir Luqman, Faisal Chaudhry tried to say something before the court, but Justice Siddiqui asked him to talk to his brother who is also saying things on the same pattern like these people do. Justice Siddiqui inquired from Mubashir Lucman that why such things were not said about Kashif Abbasi? Mubashir said he would ask Kashif Abbasi about this later on. At this juncture, Justice Siddiqui said that “you know why it is so.”
“Kashif may not be having better relations with Islamabad people like you do. I am asking you to watch and examine your own programme ‘Khara Sach’ and make statement as to whether it comes within the definition of decency, morality and not as Yellow Journalism,” Justice Siddiqui asked Mubashir. Mubashir said he could not see his own programme as its repeat telecast is shown very late. “Ask Salman Iqbal to repeat telecast the programme a bit early,” Luqman said. Upon this, Justice Siddiqui said he don’t need to wait for repeat telecast, as he can get details from his organisation.
Kashif Abbasi said the court had ordered investigation of assets for all. Justice Siddiqui said he did not point to you. He said Kashif Abbasi and anchors like Talat Hussain still bears respect. At this Mubashir intervened and said that Talat Hussain should be excluded from this list. “I can separately provide details to you about this,” he said.
Counsel for PBA told the court that in west TV is called an “idiot box”. He said that if the court would investigate this matter under Article 199, it would have to record statements of many people.
Justice Siddiqui while referring to his Sept 09 order said Jang report in this regard is not based on facts. He said there seems to be no code of conduct in journalism.
The court told Mubashir that his warrants for arrest were issued at a contempt of court application that the court was disposing of now.
The court told the petitioners that they could become party in the apex court where a contempt of court proceeding is pending against Lucman.