IHC seeks reply from Ghulam Sarwar on statement linking Nawaz's release on bail to 'a deal'

Published November 11, 2019
On Saturday, a petition was submitted against Ghulam Sarwar Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File
On Saturday, a petition was submitted against Ghulam Sarwar Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday issued a notice to Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against the federal minister for linking the release of Nawaz Sharif on bail with a 'deal'.

A single-judge bench of the high court headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the minister to submit a reply by Thursday.

On Saturday, a petition was submitted against Khan by a lawyer Khalid Mehmood Khan. While referring to a talk show aired on a private television channel, it pointed out that the minister openly linked the release of Nawaz with a deal between the government and the former premier.

During today's proceedings, the petitioner's lawyer Advocate Jahangir Jadoon said that Khan had made a statement regarding the alleged deal and had claimed that a fake medical report could be issued.

"The medical board was formed by the government — how can he say that?" Justice Minallah enquired, adding that politics was one thing, but such statements were making people lose trust in the system.

The same bench decided to club the petition against Khan with contempt proceedings against Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.

During the proceedings, Dr Awan said that her case had no relation to that of the federal minister for aviation. Justice Minallah responded that she had held a press conference in government capacity and Khan had also given a statement, which is why the two will be heard together.

Awan, who was in the court during the proceedings, said that Khan had not said anything about the medical board, to which the petitioner's counsel responded that he had termed Nawaz's bail the "result of a deal".

"I can read the transcript of his statement," the premier's special assistant added.

Justice Minallah enquired how a federal minister could say such a thing, in response to which Awan said the reality wasn't what was being presented in court.

"How can government ministers say such things?" Justice Minallah asked.

Awan said that she would bring the matter to Prime Minister Imran Khan's notice and added that this may have been the federal minister for aviation's personal opinion, it wasn't the government's policy.

"This means the government is not trusting its own medical board. This means that you are misleading the government. There will be consequences if the government is not trusting institutions," the IHC chief justice remarked.

Awan reiterated that Khan had not said anything about the medical board.

"You are the appointed spokesperson of the premier. If you don't take action against Ghulam Sarwar Khan that means that the statement was made as a result of your decision.

"When you impact pending cases, other cases will also be affected," Justice Minallah remarked.

The hearing was adjourned till Thursday.

Earlier today, Awan submitted her written reply in the case to the court after she was directed to do so on Tuesday.

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