ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court asked Salman Iqbal, the chief executive officer of ARY television network, and its anchor person Mubasher Lucman on Monday to justify airing a defamatory and scandalous talk show against the judiciary. Both are facing contempt charges for allegedly vilifying a judge of the apex court.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal also directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to come up with a reply explaining why the authority’s important post like chairman was still vacant and who should be blamed for the slackness.
At the last hearing on Sept 9, the Supreme Court had issued contempt notice against the CEO of ARY and anchorperson Mubasher Lucman.
The bench was constituted to take up the case relating to the talk show aired on the ARY ‘Khara Sach’ hosted by Mr Lucman on May 29. Slanderous and defamatory allegations were levelled in the show against Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja about his relationship to Mir Shakeelur Rehman, the owner of Geo TV network, and the sale of a property in Lahore by the judge’s wife to the Punjab government.
The allegations were raised after Justice Khawaja’s heard a petition moved by Geo TV network for immediate intervention to halt what they called ‘hate campaign’ against the channel.
When the case was taken up on Monday, senior counsel Irfan Qadir appeared before the bench to explain that he was representing both the CEO as well as the anchorperson. Both the CEO and the anchorperson were not in attendance.
Advocate Ibrahim Satti told the court that he would submit reply on behalf of Pemra. He refuted the allegations that Pemra was acting as a lame duck.
The court directed Pemra as well as the contemnors to submit their replies in 10 days. The case would be fixed after two weeks.
The court asked Deputy Attorney General Khawaja Ahmed Hosain to file a reply on behalf of the government.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2014