The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday banned television anchorperson Shahid Masood from hosting his programme for three months and asked him to submit a written apology to the court.

The news anchor offered the court an unconditional apology "from the depths of his heart" for being unable to prove his startling allegations against the convicted rapist and murderer, Imran Ali, of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, however, dismissed the verbal apology, saying: "I will not forgive you without punishment".

"I have been hearing about the 'depths of your heart' for a while now," Justice Nisar remarked.

The CJP then told Masood to "suggest a punishment for himself or the court will ban him for six months". Masood first suggested a ban for one month and then extended it to two months.

The SC announced a ban for three months and ordered the anchorperson to submit a written apology. Justice Nisar warned him that the courts "were not the same as before".

Editorial: Yellow journalism

At the beginning of today's hearing, Justice Nisar lambasted the anchorperson for "insulting [the CJP's] law officer" during his late night programme. "How dare he insult my law officer?" the CJP asked.

"I can get a screen installed to watch the remarks you gave in your characteristic loud voice," Justice Nisar said, adding that the court could charge Masood for contempt of court.

In an earlier hearing this month on March 7, the CJP had refused to accept a verbal apology from News One anchorperson for his startling allegations against the convicted rapist and murderer of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur.

Masood, on March 12, had submitted a written apology in court, saying that he was "sorry if the transmission hurt anyone's sentiments". The apology was again rejected by the CJP who said that the anchorperson "had not apologised" in his answer.

The anchorperson had claimed during a late night show in January that convict Imran Ali was a member of a pornography gang which also includes a Punjab minister. During earlier hearings of the case, Masood had also told the court that the suspect has 37 foreign accounts.

Imran Ali, who was convicted in the rape and murder of Zainab Amin by an Anti-terrorism Court in February, had appealed to the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the verdict that handed him death penalty on four counts, pleading not guilty to the offences. His appeal was turned down by the LHC on Tuesday.

Opinion

Danger lurks
27 Sep 2021

Danger lurks

The colonial mindset continues to percolate.
Dance of death
Updated 27 Sep 2021

Dance of death

India is happily flirting with extermination.
Climate of change
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Climate of change

The world faces a climate emergency as the toll on people’s lives and livelihoods keeps growing.

Editorial

Phasing out coal
Updated 27 Sep 2021

Phasing out coal

Move affords Pakistan an opportunity to renegotiate its deals with Beijing to convert them into cheaper, clean energy projects.
27 Sep 2021

Poor online score

A RECENT report by Freedom House, the US-based watchdog that assesses democratic trends around the world, has placed...
27 Sep 2021

Child’s mental capacity

CONVERTING to another faith is one of the most consequential decisions an individual can make in their lifetime. It...
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...