Courts block moves against Jang Group, Geo
ISLAMABAD: Similar petitions filed against the Jang Group and Geo in different parts of the country were blocked by the courts on Monday.
In Islamabad, Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the order of an Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) and Justice of Peace Muhammad Jehangir Awan who had directed the Islamabad police on May 3 to register an FIR against Geo officials and journalist Amir Mir.
In Rawalpindi, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench, dismissed a petition and an application of a private person seeking Pemra to proceed against Geo TV.
In Bahawalpur, District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Rasheed Qamar dismissed on Monday a petition under Section 22-A for the registration of an FIR against Geo TV and the Jang Group. It was filed by one Ghulam Abbas, a resident of Bankers Colony, Bahawalpur.
In Faisalabad, Additional District and Sessions Judge Muzaffar Hussain Gul disposed of a petition submitted by Arshad Ali Awan advocate for the registration of a case against Geo News.
In Lahore, Additional District and Sessions Judge Ghulam Abbas Sial directed the SHO concerned to proceed strictly in accordance with the law.The Islamabad High Court bench also issued notices to the respondents in the two applications challenging the order of the ADSJ.
Faisal Iqbal Khan, Amir Abdullah Abbasi and Behzad Haider, legal counsel for the Geo officials and Amir Mir, contended before the court that the petitioner has no locus standi and the Ministry of Defence has already lodged a complaint with Pemra in this regard.
They argued that to file a complaint, it is necessary to access the police for registration of an FIR before coming to court. A station house officer (SHO) had intimated the ADSJ that the police received no such application but even then the judge ordered the registration of an FIR.
The lawyers argued that the attack on Hamid Mir was also outside the territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad.Meanwhile, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench, dismissed a petition and an application of a private person seeking Pemra to proceed against Geo TV under Sections 27, 30, 33 and 34 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 and against the Ministry of Interior for lodging a complaint in terms of Section 196 CrPC against the management of the Geo TV network.
The petitioner through another application sought from the court to direct Pemra to stop Geo TV from airing programmes allegedly against the ‘sensitive’ institutions. LHC Rawalpindi Bench, however, dismissed both petitions and a detailed judgment is yet to come.
Petitioner Syed Khalil Hussain Shah Kazmi, a resident of Jhelum, made Pemra, the federation through the interior and information secretaries, Geo TV and the Ministry of Defence through its secretary respondents. He described himself as a social worker.
The petitioner alleged Geo TV has violated the provisions of the Pemra Ordinance. “Controversial and objectionable programmes” telecast by Geo TV after the attack on Hamid Mir are also covered by section 120-A, 120-B, 121 and 123-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), he contented.
The petitioner said that it is the primary duty of the federal government to defend and protect national institutions, particularly the institutions of national security and the armed forces.
The petitioner pleaded that the government should have not only ensured proceedings under the Pemra Ordinance but also launched a complaint under Sections 196 Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against the management of Geo TV and others. The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the Ministry of Interior to lodge a complaint in terms of Section 196 CrPC against the management of the Geo TV network.
Ameen Abbasi adds from Bahawalpur: District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Rasheed Qamar dismissed a petition under Section 22-A for registration of an FIR against Geo TV and the Jang Group filed by one Ghulam Abbas, a resident of Bankers Colony, Bahawalpur, on Monday.
Before dismissing the petition in preliminary arguments, the judge asked the petitioner and his counsel, Zafar Iqbal Awan, whether the petitioner is an aggrieved person, and what locus standi he has for moving this application. He also asked if the two petitions about the same occurrence, filed by different persons before the Islamabad High Court and Sindh High Court, have been dismissed or not.
The judge asked whether the governement has not already moved an application to Pemra and whether a high-powered judicial commission, comprising three Supreme Court judges, has not been constituted for a judicial probe into the same matter. When the counsel was not in a position to explain the status of the petitioner and stated that he has no knowledge about it, the judge dismissed the petition.
The court observed that the petitioner, being a private person, has no locus standi to file this petition and ordered for filing the petition to the record room.
Our correspondent adds from Faisalabad: Faisalabad Additional District and Sessions Judge Muzaffar Hussain Gul on Monday disposed of a petition submitted by Arshad Ali Awan advocate for the registration of a case against Geo News.
The court asked Arshad to contact Pemra which was the appropriate forum. The Sargodha Road police told the court that the incident did not take place in their jurisdiction. So a case could not be registered on this application. After hearing the police version, the court disposed of the petition.
In the petition, Arshad took the stance that the army and the ISI had been ridiculed against the backdrop of an attack on Hamid Mir. The petitioner said he contacted the police for the registration of the case and submitted the petition after the police refused to file it.
The petition had made the Faisalabad capital police officer, Amir Mir, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Geo directors and the Sargodha Road SHO party to the case. Our Correspondent adds from Lahore: Additional District and Sessions Judge Ghulam Abbas Sial on Monday directed the SHO concerned to record the statement of the petitioner on the plea seeking the registration of a criminal case against the management of Geo News, Amir Mir (brother of Hamid Mir) and other group officials.
The judge directed the SHO Islampura to record the statement of the petitioner and proceed strictly in accordance with the law if any cognizable offence was made.Earlier, the SHO Islampura had submitted his statement contending that the matter did not fall in his jurisdiction, while there had also been no cognizable offence. He had said a commission had been constituted on the issue and police could not take any initiative before the findings of that commission. The application which was submitted to him was not maintainable, the SHO added. Moreover, the competent authority in the matter was the Defence Ministry which filed a complaint before Pemra — the competent forum to redress the points raised by the petitioner.
The Geo News counsel, Salman Faisal, had argued that according to the Pemra Act, no petition could be filed; therefore, the application had no standing and was not maintainable.As per the case details, the petitioner, Aftab Virk, had alleged in his petition that Amir Mir intentionally spoke against a state institution without any solid evidence.