ISLAMABAD, May 17: The Supreme Court finally indicted former minister Babar Awan for committing contempt and bringing the Supreme Court into hatred and ridicule by defaming and scandalising through his Dec 1, 2011, press conference.

Mr Awan contested the allegation and pleaded not guilty and expressed his remorse and regrets once again before a two-judge bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Athar Saeed.

He is facing the contempt charge for his media jibe against judiciary at a press conference soon after the Dec 1, 2011, order of the Supreme Court in which an inquiry was ordered to investigate the memogate scandal by Mr Tariq Khosa.

Mr Awan, along with some cabinet colleagues, had launched a tirade and openly attacked the family of Justice Asif Khosa for being brother of Mr Tariq Khosa.

The former minister twice tendered apology before the Supreme Court, especially to Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, for his utterances in the press conference against the judiciary.

When the court called upon the accused whether he had heard and understood the charge, Mr Awan replied yes, but hastened to add that he denied all charges and wished to record a statement which the court approved.

He started recording his statement by adopting an earlier argument of Attorney General Irfan Qadir that at present there existed no law of contempt in the country, including Contempt of Court Ordinance V of 2003.

He emphasised that there was a strong impression in bar associations that he was being discriminated against because the court chose not to hear other participants of the same press conference when all were equal before the law. This also offends different provisions of the Constitution which ensure equality of citizens etc.

Right from the very beginning of the contempt proceedings against him, Mr Awan stated that at no point of time the AG had been heard or called upon to address the court, including on Thursday, to seek his opinion whether or not the accused had committed contempt or not.

About his press conference, Mr Awan said that it was directed against the leadership of the PML-N, a political opponent of the PPP and opposition in the parliament.

It is noteworthy, he said, he was a central office-bearer of the PPP when he addressed the press conference and whatever he had uttered along with other participants at the press conference were in fact a political debate in the historic perspective of relationship between the two political rivals, the PPP and the PML-N.

He reiterated that he never intended to scandalise or ridicule the Supreme Court. Any reference to court during the press conference was a point of view of the PPP and not of an individual.

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