SC Issues Contempt Notice to 34 Channels for Airing Vawda, Kamal’s Speeches

The Supreme Court issues contempt notice to 34 news channels for broadcasting speeches by Faisal Vawda and Mustafa Kamal-Three-judge bench rejects Mustafa Kamal’s apology, demands Faisal Vawda's response to suo motu notice

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The Supreme Court issues contempt notice to 34 TV channels over airing Faisal Vawda and Mustafa Kamal’s ‘anti-judiciary press conferences’.

On Wednesday, a three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, alongside Justices Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Irfan Saadat Khan, heard the contempt of court case involving Kamal and Vawda.

Both politicians had delivered strongly worded press conferences criticizing the judiciary earlier in May. Vawda emphasized the necessity of evidence before leveling allegations, while Kamal aimed to establish ethical standards for judges, insisting that justice could “only be bought.

The apex court issued show-cause notices to both leaders on Friday for their remarks about the judiciary and directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to submit video recordings and Urdu transcripts of Vawda’s press conference from May 15 and Kamal’s press conference from May 16.

During today’s hearing, Barrister Farogh Naseem, representing Kamal, requested the court to accept his client’s one-page unconditional apology.

He emphasized that Kamal had actually referred to pending Riba (usury) cases. Chief Justice Isa questioned whether those cases were filed before the Federal Shariat Court. Regarding the decision to take suo motu action over the speeches, Chief Justice Isa expressed dismay at being subjected to abusive language, questioning if such language was acceptable in any country.

He clarified that the notice wasn’t about criticism directed at him personally but rather about criticism against the judiciary. In response to Moiz Ahmed, Vawda’s lawyer, expressing his client’s desire to discuss Pemra, Chief Justice Isa affirmed their right to speak as counsel.

Addressing Ahmed’s plan to read out Vawda’s press conference questions and answers, Justice Saadat examined the context, highlighting Vawda’s specific criticism of Justice Babar Sattar and Justice Athar Minallah.

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CJP Isa condemned media channels for airing offensive language and questioned Pemra’s prohibition on covering court proceedings. He emphasized the need for journalistic integrity and criticized individuals who spread misinformation for financial profit.

The court issued notices to 34 TV channels for broadcasting derogatory speeches, instructing them to respond within two weeks. Additionally, the court sought Pemra’s explanation regarding the ban on reporting court proceedings.

Additionally, the Supreme Court rejected Kamal’s apology in the contempt case.

Justice Irfan Saadat Khan advised Kamal’s counsel to hold a press conference expressing regret for the previous remarks against the judiciary.

The bench also agreed to reconsider the response from Vawda’s counsel upon their request.

The case has been adjourned until June 28, with Vawda granted one week to submit his response to the suo motu notice.

Despite receiving a contempt notice from the Supreme Court, Vawda has requested the apex court to withdraw the contempt notice issued to him.

In his written response submitted to the Supreme Court, Senator Vawda highlighted that other politicians, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PTI leader Raoof Hassan, and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, had also made similar remarks but were not subjected to the same consequences.

He expressed his utmost respect and regard for the judiciary, emphasizing that he could never imagine undertaking any action that would diminish the judiciary’s standing in any way. He pleaded with the court to withdraw the show cause notice.

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