SC issues contempt notice to PTI’s Amir Liaquat
ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Amir Liaquat Hussain for violating the undertaking he had given to the top court.
Hussain in his undertaking had assured the top court that he would not incite viewers and spread hatred among general public by propaganda against media persons and others through a current affairs programme at Bol Network.
He had also assured the top court that he would never conduct such programme which could fall within the Section 27 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002.
Hussain, who is elected for the seat of National Assembly from NA-245 Karachi on ticket of PTI, is directed to submit the reply as to why contempt of court charge should not be framed against him. The top court has directed Hussain to file a reply within two weeks.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge bench which was hearing the applications against Hussain, asked if such a person could be allowed to sit in the Parliament who had no sense what to speak. The Chief Justice also asked whether Hussain’s notification had been issued.
The applications were filed by Independent Media Corporation and Anchor Shahzeb Khanzada against Hussain wherein it was requested to the top court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Hussain on account of violation of his undertaking that he would never spread hatred through his programme. The top court in March last year had prohibited Hussain from hatred speech programme.
Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, counsel appearing on behalf of Corporation and anchor, argued before the bench that Hussain in one of his TV programmes had accused Khanzada of supporting blasphemy convicts. He further added that the serious allegations had also been levelled against Najam Sethi.
During the hearing, Siddiqui invited the attention of bench to the order dated March 6 of 2017, whereby Hussain was prohibited to deliver hatred content in his programme. He also pointed out the material which according to him not only violated the top court’s earlier order but the PEMRA laws as well.
Siddiqui contended before the bench that alleged contemnor Hussain had time and again been made part of various legal proceedings because of his never ending defamatory comapigns and unethical modes of conducting televisions shows over several years.
He recalled the top court’s March last year order and said that Hussain was restrained from conducting any such programme which was likely to create hatred among the people or was prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or was likely to disturb public peace.
He further submitted that Hussain had time and again called his clients traitors in his show namely Aisay Nahi Chalayga, adding he was running an active campaign against his clients to defame and bring disrespect to them.
Even after the orders of top court, the alleged contemnor did not stop with his defamatory campaign and continued to use offensive and insulting language against his clients, he added.
During the hearing, chief justice ordered for playing the clips of Hussain’s TV show on big screen in the courtroom.
Chief justice summoned Hussain on rostrum to explain his position. Hussain responded that he was using derogatory words for Narendra Modi and Ajeet Deol.
The bench observed that Hussain was in habit of making untrue statements. The Chief Justice gave dressing-down to Hussain and said that notice was straightaway being issued to him for making the instant statement. He further observed that Hussain had no control on his tongue.
The Chief Justice scolded Hussain for his conduct against the channels’ owners. “I (chief justice) have read many columns and articles wherein you had been swearing in favour of Geo channel and you have also said about your mother’s terms and relations with the family of Mir Shakil Ur Rehman. This is what you do to the owner of a channel once you were employed in?” the chief justice grilled Hussain.
Soon after another clip, wherein Hussain was conducting programme against Khanzada, Siddiqui interfered and requested the bench to fix the liability whatever it deemed necessary, adding this act was like a fire which would burn the country. He said that no one had the right to call anyone traitor.
Hussain was standing before the bench with a blank face when his counsel Advocate Shahab Sarki tried to rescue him and contended before the bench that the material brought on record by the appellants was out of the context and the same should be read with the context.
He added that material had not been provided to him for the reply. However, the bench did not weigh the arguments.
The bench issued contempt of court notice to Amir Liaquat Hussain under Section 17 of Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 and directed him to submit the reply within 14 days.
Two days ago, the same bench had expressed displeasure over non-appearance of Hussain in the top court and imposed fine of Rs20,000 on him. “We express our displeasure that the respondent/alleged contemnor, Amir Liaquat Hussain, to whom notice had been issued by this court, is not present in the court today. For such default, costs of Rs20,000 is imposed on him to be deposited in the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund,” the top court in its August 8 order stated.