SC decides to proceed against TV anchorperson
Rejecting TV anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood’s reply in a contempt of court case, the Supreme Court decided on Monday to proceed against him. Dr Masood in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order on Saturday last filed his reply wherein he stated: “I highly appreciate prompt action taken by Chief Justice of his program broadcast on TV channel News One on 24-01-2018 at 08:05pm … I also assure the apex court that I shall observe due diligence and care before making such statements.”
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, issued notices to Attorney General for Pakistan, Punjab Prosecutor General, and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in this case. Advocate Faisal Siddiqui is appointed as amicus curiae (friend of court).
At the onset of the proceeding, Dr Masood’s counsel Shah Khawar informed that the paragraph regarding apology was inadvertently left out. The Chief Justice said that such a paragraph was not in the reply, and asked the counsel to read out the paragraph, which was left out.
Shah Khawar Advocate read out that paragraph which was left out. According to that whatever was said in the programme was for the time being and sudden outburst and was a result of emotions. He contended that it was with good intention, adding if the court was hurt then he regrets and apologizes for it.
Additional Advocate General Punjab, Asma Hamid on the court’s query stated that leveling baseless allegations in the TV programme is not appropriate, adding only expressing regret is also regrettable. This is unfortunate and the court should take action on such programme.
Dr Masood in his television show telecast on January 24, 2018 and his media talk on 25.01.2018 outside the apex court alleged that rapist and murderer of minor girl, Zainab, had bank accounts within and outside Pakistan, but he could not prove his allegations.
Shah Khawar said in the last hearing that Dr Shahid Masood had tendered an apology. The Chief Justice remarked that ‘time for apology is over,’ adding: “We can reject the apology.” Dr Masood had said he “regrets for whatever he had stated in the programme”. The Chief Justice again said, ‘Time for apology is over and now the court would proceed in accordance with the law, as this is also contempt of court.”
Misstatement was made before the court therefore Dr Shahid’s reply is not acceptable, the Chief Justice said and inquired from PEMRA’s counsel for how many days the programme should be suspended.
The AAG Punjab informed that due to Dr Masood’s allegations, the investigations were suspended for 48 hours. The Chief Justice said they would hear both the attorney general for Pakistan and the advocate general, and inquired whether a terrorism-related section could be attracted to this case. The case was adjourned for one week.