The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday accepted the unconditional apologies tendered by representatives of two news publications for 'misreporting' Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar's remarks yesterday.
Urdu newspaper Jang and English daily The News had in their lead stories on Wednesday reported that CJP Nisar, while hearing a suo motu case of illegal construction in Banigala, had "remarked that the current government lacked capability and planning".
The top judge had distanced himself from those remarks, explaining that the court had been referring to the Capital Development Authority in the Banigala case, not the government, and issued notices to the publications.
A three-judge bench headed by the CJP held a hearing on the notices today.
Jang Editor Hanif Khalid, who was present in court, was asked by Justice Nisar to explain how his remarks were misreported and published, and then debated on television later that night.
"Your reporter does not even come to court. You want institutions to clash with each other," the CJP remarked, adding that incorrect remarks were attributed to him.
"Are we sitting here to harm institutions?" he asked.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said: "Why is it only your organisation that misreports stories? You report the news wrong and then join your hands in forgiveness the next day."
Justice Ijaz also observed that the Jang reporter had not been present in court, to which Khalid responded that the reporter had been handed his fifth notice.
"I seek unconditional pardon," the editor added.
The News' senior court report Sohail Khan also appeared in court today. He told the judges he had been reporting on court affairs for 15 years.
"This news was first aired on all TV channels," he said, adding that he had complaints with the matter and that he had reported it accurately.
The court set aside its notice after receiving the apologies and cautioned both publications to be more responsible with their reporting in the future.