PPP MPs issued notices in Jang-Geo Group case
By Sohail Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to PPP’s Raja Riaz, senior minister in the Punjab Assembly and Uzma Bukhari, PPP MPA, for leveling allegations during an assembly session against Jang-Geo Group and its staffers.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing two identical petitions against the closure of the Geo News and the ARY News and civil miscellaneous appeal filed by the Geo TV.
The court issued notices through secretary Punjab Assembly while a notice was also issued to federation through Secretary Ministry of Information and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
The respondents of the notices were asked to submit their replies over the points raised in the civil miscellaneous appeal filed by the Geo TV through its counsel Muhammad Akram Sheikh. “It would be appropriate to hear their viewpoints over the issue”, the court observed in its order.
The International Media Corporation (Pvt) Limited in a petition, filed on Wednesday in the apex court sought relief against the malicious campaign launched by the PPP parliamentarians and its activists against the Jang Group publications, the Geo TV network, their owners and some senior journalists.
The court with the consent of parties concerned nominated Javed Jabbar, former senator and former minister for information, as mediator to monitor allocation of frequency to various TV channels under the Pemra rules and regulations.
The chief justice verbally instructed the Pemra counsel Raja Ibrahim Satti to get a notification issued in this regard. On Thursday, during the course of the proceedings, Muhammad Akram Sheikh, counsel for the Geo TV contended that members of the provincial assembly had levelled allegations during a session saying that the Geo TV had shares of an Indian company.
The chief justice told him that they would issue notices to government and these individuals so that they might file replies over the issue and if they accepted their claims, the bench might direct agencies to probe the matter.
Appearing on notice, Khalid Anwar, counsel for cable TV operators, objecting to such a stand said that the case started over discontinuation of two TV channels’ transmission but the counsel from channels wanted a judicial verdict over another issue.
He said that allegations appeared absurd and did not require serious attention. To bench’s query, Raja Ibrahim Satti, counsel for the Pemra apprised that they had written letters to the Geo and ARY channels for nominating their mediators under court’s previous direction but they did not respond.
He said then they approached the Government of Pakistan, which issued notification making chairpersons of the Pemra Council of Complaints in four provinces and federal capital as mediators. Akram Sheikh requested that a retired judge of the apex court should be nominated as a mediator.
He also cited an Indian verdict AIR 1995 SC, having relevancy with allotment of frequency to the TV channels. The chief justice told him that they would nominate a person having relevant experience.
The bench proposed name of Javed Jabbar and with the consent of the parties, directed Registrar Office to contact him for knowing about his consent. The office apprised the bench that they contacted Javed Jabbar and he showed his willingness to be nominated as a mediator. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till December 9 while the issue of mediator would be taken up after a week.
Source: The News