ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday again rejected a request by former minister of state for interior and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Tallal Chaudhry to postpone the contempt of court proceedings against him until the general elections, but granted him exemption from personal appearance.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, however, adjourned further proceedings till June 28. The bench reiterated its earlier directive to produce the defence witnesses for recording of their statements.
Mr Chaudhry is facing contempt charges for his alleged derogatory and contemptuous speeches/statements at public gatherings against the Supreme Court which were also telecast by different television channels.
Tallal Chaudhry granted exemption from personal appearance in court
He had already been indicted for his Jan 1 and 27 anti-judiciary rhetoric considered to be contemptuous and intended to bring the judiciary and the judges into hatred.
Mr Chaudhry pleaded before the court that his political opponents spread rumours before each hearing that he would be disqualified soon. Therefore, he said, the contempt case should be adjourned until the process of elections was completed to avoid the situation which was going against him.
Mr Chaudhry said he wanted to contest the election from his constituency and had filed his nomination papers, adding that the process of scrutiny of nomination papers was still on.
At the last hearing on June 19, the Supreme Court had declined to postpone until general elections the hearing of the contempt case. The court had even asked Mr Chaudhry to consider changing his counsel — who on that date had not turned up — in case the lawyer again failed to appear before the court.
However, on Thursday a senior officer of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), General Manager Mohammad Tahir, in his testimony recorded before the Supreme Court said that no complaint had ever been received against Mr Chaudhry for using derogatory remarks against the judiciary.
The officer said that no complaint about the PML-N leader’s anti-judiciary statements had been received till May 22, though the authority received complaints against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal.
Mr Chaudhry informed the court that the rest of his witnesses could not appear on Thursday because of Eid holidays.
When the court reminded that the holidays were already over, senior counsel Kamran Murtaza said that in rural areas Eid festivities continued for several days. The counsel also explained that due to a wedding in his family, he could not attend the last hearing.
During the proceedings, the court hinted that it might complete the contempt hearing with a day or two.
Tallal Chaudhry had presented a list of defence witnesses, including former adviser to the prime minister Senator Musadik Malik, former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, former members of the National Assembly Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani, Shahbaz Babar and Nadeem Abbas, senior banker Hassan Aurangzeb Abbasi, Transporter Association president Israr Khan, former president of the Faisalabad Bar Association Ali Abbas Khan, Zaheer Iqbal, Jaranwala’s municipal corporation vice chairman Sheikh Habib and councillor Imtiaz Khan, Rakhsha Association president Atta Muhammad, Abdul Sattar, Tanvir Hussain, Qadir Qaiser and General Manager Operations Broadcast in Pemra Muhammad Tahir.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018