Jang/Geo Group petition: Sorry if my TV show looked like contempt of court: anchor
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday indicted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) MNA-elect from Karachi and former TV anchorperson Aamir Liaquat Hussain for using derogatory language against Jang Group and its journalists after rejecting his unconditional apology. A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah heard the contempt petitions, filed by Independent Media Group, Jang and Geo Group against Aamir Liaquat for using derogatorylanguage against it. The court read out the charge sheet to the contemnor Aamir Liaquat Hussain. However, he pleaded not guilty after which the court asked Deputy Attorney General to submit evidence in the matter on the next date of hearing.
During the course of hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, Aamir Liaquat Hussain along with his counsel Shahab Sarki, and Faisal Siddiqui, counsel for Independent Media Group and Jang and Geo, appeared before the court.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti as to whether a charge sheet has been prepared to which the deputy AG submitted the charge sheet. Shahab Sarki, counsel for Aamir Liaquat Hussain, submitted before the court that his client regrets his act and has left himself at the mercy of the court. Aamir Liaquat also submitted that he had apologised before the court also but now again he seeks an unconditional apology.
Aami’s counsel said that his client had no intention of committing a contempt of court, adding his client apologises if the content of the TV programme created an impression of contempt of court.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that they had set the hearing for indictment adding that they could examine his unconditional apology at some other time. Meanwhile, Justice Ijazul Ahsan read out the charge sheet to Aamir Liaquat Hussain to which the contemnor pleaded not guilty.
The charge sheet included the excerpts from Aamir Liaquat’s TV program, stating that statement of Aamir Liaquat made in CR MA No 652/2017 is tantamount to disobeying, disregarding and flouting the order of the Supreme Court and his conduct tends to disrespect and ridicule the apex court and thereby, he obstructed, interfered in and prejudiced against the process of law and due course of proceedings of the apex court.
“You, therefore, are guilty of committing the contempt of the Supreme Court within the meaning of Article 204 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, punishable under Section 5 of the said Ordinance and which offence is cognizable by this court,” says the charge sheet.
The charge sheet reads: “That you Mr Aamir Liaquat Hussain, in program “Aisa Nahi Chaly Ga” aired on March 9, 2017 by a TV channel in violation of Order dated March 6, 2017, passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in CPLA No541/2017 stated as follows:
“Neelay Peelay kay Mir Shakilur Rehman ko bhi, Father of Bharat Ko Bhi, Son of Bharat ko bhi, Unky tammam anchors ko bhi sub jo jalnay waly hain, Hasad karnay waly hain, Sub ko yeh gaana dedicate kar raha hoon pyaar say. Gaana hamiasha pyaa say dedicate kiya jata hey. Aap muj say jaltay raihain.”
The charge sheet further reads: “That on March 7, 2017, you stated in the said program as under: “Pakistan is a great nation and its people even greater, Najam Sethi is a renegade who must die in shame,”
Aamir Liaquat Hussain pleaded not guilty. The court then asked Deputy Attorney General to provide copy of the charge sheet to the counsel for Aamir Liaquat Hussain. The court also directed Deputy Attorney General to produce on the next date of hearing evidence in the instant matter and adjourned further hearing until November 29.
The court also directed the PTI leader to present witnesses ─ if any ─ in his favour, in the next hearing. Meanwhile, the court directed the contemnor to sign the charge sheet before the leaving the court premises.
It is pertinent to mention here that on last hearing held on October 30, the court had rejected an apology rendered by Aamir Liaquat Hussain in a contempt case against him field by Independent Media Group, Jang and Geo Group for using derogatory language.
On September 11, the court had announced to indict Pakistan Aamir Liaquat for using derogatory language against Jang Group and its journalists after rejecting his unconditional apology and directed Attorney General to prepare a charge sheet for the alleged contemnor.
The petitioners had prayed the apex court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Aamir Liaquat as the court had conditionally allowed continuing his programme on the condition that he will abstain from using derogatory words against anyone. However, he did not comply with the court orders.
The petitioners had contended that despite giving affidavit to the apex court not to air derogatory remarks in his programme Aisa Nahi Chalay Ga, he used derogatory language against Jang and Geo Group besides issuing decrees of traitors and terming Chief Executive of Jang and Geo Group Mir Shakilur Rehman, Mir Ibrahim and anchorperson Shahzeb Khnazada as Indian agents.
“After going through the contents of reply, filed by the alleged contemnor, we would like to frame a charge against him and let the learned Attorney General prepare the charge sheet for next week,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had announced in the order.
The court directed the counsel for the petitioners and respondent to coordinate for the indictment after which both the counsels agreed for September 27 as the date for the indictment. The court on August 18 had held that case of contempt has been established against the alleged contemnor Aamir Liaquat Hussain under Article 204 of the constitution for using derogatory language against Jang Group and its journalists
“There remains no doubt that a prima facie case of contempt has been established against the alleged contemnor Aamir Liaqat Hussain under Article 204 of the constitution read with Section 17 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003,” the court had ruled and had issued notice to the respondent/alleged contemnor Aamir Liaquat. He shall submit his reply within 15 day of the issuance of this order.
On previous hearing, Counsel for Jang Group Faisal Siddiqui had contended that the “court had passed an order on March 6, 2017, in Civil Petition No. 541/2017, passing the directions with regards to respondent NO. 1 (respondent) wherein the court had ruled that without causing any prejudice to the authority of Pemra as per the provisions of Section 27 of the Ordinance of 2002 [Pemra Ordinance 2002], it directed that Amir Liaquat Hussain shall not conduct or broadcast, re-broadcast or distribute any programme, which in any way whatsoever is against the ideology of Pakistan, or is likely to create hatred among the people or is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility or endangers national security or is pornographic, obscene or vulgar or is offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency; and that he shall not engage in any practice or act which amounts to abuse of media power by way of harming the legitimate interests of another licensee or willfully causes damage to another person; and that he shall not perform any act or conduct himself in any manner that violates the Code of Conduct of Media Broadcasters or Cable TV Operators (the Code of Conduct)”.
The counsel contended that after the said order of the court, Aamir Liaquat again conducted programmes against Jang Group, violating the court orders, adding that video clips are available with them.
The counsel for Aamir Liaqat played a video clip of Aamir liaqat wherein he was referring to an anchorperson of ZEE TV Sudhir Chaudhry, alleging him of taking “batha” for running a statement.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the video clips so far shown portray that the alleged contemnor is terming Mir Shakil ur Rehman as father of Bharat and Mir Ibrahim as son of Bharat.
The counsel for the alleged contemnor said that Aamir was referring to an anchorperson of ZEE TV calling him son of Bharat but not to Mir Shakir ur Rehman. At this the Chief Justice while addressing the counsel said that they want to compare both the video clips.
“We are also understanding and you too (should understand) as well”, the CJP had told counsel for Aamir Liaquat adding that body language speaks as well.
Meanwhile, the court had announced that the alleged contemnor will be indicted with direction to additional attorney general to prepare the draft for charge sheet and adjourned further hearing.