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Did not commit contempt of court, was misquoted by media: Daniyal Aziz tells SC

Updated February 23, 2018

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Daniyal Aziz talking to media outside the SC. — Photo by author
Daniyal Aziz talking to media outside the SC. — Photo by author

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Azmat Saeed on Friday asked PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz — who is facing contempt of court proceedings — to submit video clips of his speech aired on different news channels.

During Friday's hearing of the contempt of court case against Aziz, Justice Saeed told the federal minister that the courtroom had arranged a screen to watch videos of the speech where he allegedly spoke against the judiciary.

"So which film are you showing us today?" Justice Saeed asked, to which Aziz responded that he had submitted a written response in court and had "no films to show".

Aziz's lawyer Ali Raza asked the court to provide his client with the video of the speech over which he had been accused of contempt. The bench complied by ordering the additional attorney general to provide Aziz with the video along with a news report published in the Daily Dunya newspaper.

When Aziz insisted that he had been misquoted by Daily Dunya newspaper, the bench said that the court had provided him with the transcript and the video of the speech aired on Neo News and DawnNews for which he had been accused of contempt.

The bench then told Aziz to submit the video of the speech in which he was allegedly misquoted, warning him that the court would not provide him more time.

Aziz said that he had requested the Press Information Department to provide him with the clips and transcript.

The hearing was adjourned until March 6.

The SC had served Aziz a contempt of court notice earlier this month for his "anti-judiciary" speech. However, the court had not specified which speech by the PML-N leader had caught the judges' attention.

Following last year's Panama Papers judgement in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, members of the ruling party, including Aziz — on a number of occasions — have launched unprecedented verbal attacks on the country’s judiciary, accusing it of having different standards for the former prime minister than for his opponents.

On December 20, a few days after the SC had cleared Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in a disqualification case, Aziz, on the floor of the National Assembly had recounted the entire history of the Panama Papers case and questioned the way the courts had conducted the matter.

Stopping just short of blaming Nawaz's ouster in the Panama Papers case on a ‘grand conspiracy’, he had recalled how the Jamaat-i-Islami had filed a petition naming all 450 Pakistanis mentioned in the Panama Papers with the SC, which was declared frivolous and rejected.

“Imran Khan then filed a copycat petition, containing just Nawaz Sharif’s name. That too was thrown out,” he had said, adding that the PTI then staged a ‘failed lockdown’ of Islamabad to put pressure on the court. "But rather than sticking to its decision, the court changed its mind and took up the cases that were earlier thrown out."