People are maligned on ARY: Justice Ijaz
Says apology is first tendered in SC and next day insulting programme aired again; it seems channel CEO, anchorperson have great lust for money; asks Pemra to monitor ARY programmes
ISLAMABAD: Justice Ijaz Chaudhry of the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday observed that people were being maligned on the ARY channel saying the channel chief executive officer and anchorperson Mubasher Lucman tendered an apology in the court and the next day, the channel aired insulting programmes again.
The apex court further said that the people were being insulted and it seemed that both Salman Iqbal and the anchorperson had a lust for money. The court warned Salman Iqbal and Mubasher Lucman that they would realise the facts when they were sent to jail.
The SC admonished ARY Chief Executive Television Salman Iqbal for adopting frequent policy of maligning the people and judiciary while airing programmes and asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to strictly monitor the channel’s programmes.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Mushir Alam resumed the contempt of court case against Salman Iqbal and Mubasher Lucman for maligning the judiciary while airing a programme.
The court took strong exception to the frequent changing of counsels by Salman Iqbal and hinted if he continued to do so, his name would be put on the Exit Control List (ECL).During the course of hearing, Abid Zubairi, counsel for Salman Iqbal and Mubasher Lucman, submitted before the court that Anwar Mansoor Khan, new counsel for ARY Salman Iqbal, had sought adjournment for two weeks as he was abroad.
“Why are you frequently changing counsels in order to delay the proceedings of the instant case,” Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry asked Salman Iqbal, adding that he should face the case boldly and abstain from delaying tactics.“Your cleverness for seeking frequent adjournments will not work here and if you continue to do so, your name will be put on the ECL,” Justice Ijaz told the ARY chief.
Justice Ijaz while admonishing the ARY chief for his calculated policy of maligning people remarked, “You first air programme to malign people then tender apology and after tendering apology, you again aired programme. Nowadays you are airing programmes about the high court judges,” Justice Ijaz said.
Salman Iqbal claimed ignorance about the said programme, arguing that it was very difficult for him to monitor every programme and ticker. He said that there were over 3,000 employees and anchors in his channel.
“You are well aware as every programme is the outcome of the policy and the policy comes from the top management, hence, you are responsible for this,” Justice Ijaz told the ARY chief.“We know everything and we are not the slaves of your lawyers who seek adjournments,” the judge said. “Your channel also runs some good programmes including on religious matters but why you are bent upon maligning the people in your programmes.”
During the course of hearing, the court directed Pemra General Manager Muhammad Tahir, who was present in the courtroom, to strictly monitor the programmes aired by ARY.The court on January 5 indicted Salman Iqbal and Mubasher Lucman in a contempt of court case for maligning the judiciary while airing a programme.
The court after rejecting the unconditional apologies submitted by Salman Iqbal and Mubasher had framed charges of contempt against them for maligning the judiciary while airing a programme.
The court directed Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt to submit the list of witnesses in 15 days for prosecuting Salman Iqbal and Mubasher. In pursuance of the court order, the attorney general submitted before the court the list of evidence, affidavits and other documents in the contempt case.
On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti appeared before the court and submitted that Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt was abroad, adding that they had already submitted the list of evidence, affidavits and other documents in the instant contempt case.Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till April 9 asking the ARY chief if his lawyer remained absent, proceedings in the case would continue.