QUETTA, May 15: A division bench of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) issued show-cause notices to owners and editors of six newspapers on Wednesday for publishing statements of banned organisations accepting responsibility for acts of terrorism.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan issued the notices during the hearing of a petition filed by the Balochistan Bar Association.
Earlier, the court had taken suo motu notice of publication of such statements and directed newspapers to avoid publishing them. Later, a petition was filed by the bar association.
The notices seek explanation from the owners and chief editors of dailies Jang, Mashriq, Bakhabar, Qudrat, Intikhab and Azadi why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for violating the court orders.
They have also been asked to explain why they violated articles 19 and 5 of the constitution and why cases under section 11-W of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 should not be registered against them.
The court observed that the publication of the statements was tantamount to justifying acts of violence in which people were killed and maimed.
The court noted that the statements described murderers and criminals as ‘Mujahideen’ and ‘Fidayeen’ and used Islam, the religion of peace, as a pretext to justify violence.
It directed the owners of the newspapers to submit their replies at the next hearing to be held on May 30.
It appointed media expert Javed Jabbar and senior journalist Talat Hussain as amici curiae to assist the court on how terrorist acts should be covered.
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