PHC seeks replies of ministers, others in contempt petitions

Updated 10 Sep 2020

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The bench of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mahfooz directed them to file their written replies within a fortnight.
The bench of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mahfooz directed them to file their written replies within a fortnight.

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday sought replies from two federal ministers and three others in two identical petitions, seeking to prosecute them for committing contempt of a special court that had sentenced to death retired General Musharraf for high treason last year.

The bench of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mahfooz directed that the five alleged contemnors including federal ministers Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Barrister Farogh Naseem; Special Assistant to Prime Minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar, former special assistants to prime minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, and former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan should file their written replies within a fortnight.

The bench issued the order in two identical petitions filed by advocates Malik Ajmal Khan and Mian Azizuddin Kakakhel under Article 204 of Constitution read with Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.

Petitioner Azizuddin has also requested the court to disqualify prime minister and other respondents from holding any public office for committing contempt of court.

During course of hearing, the bench inquired from an additional attorney general Qazi Babar Irshad and a deputy attorney general Habib Qureshi that under what authority they had been appearing for the alleged contemnors.

Petitioners claim special court which convicted Pervez Musharraf was scandalised

Justice Roohul Amin Khan observed that being law officers of the court they had to assist the bench in prosecuting the contemnors. The judge inquired as to how they could appear in defence of the contemnors.

The AAG assured the court that they would assist it in the two petitions.

The petitioners stated that the federal government had constituted a special court after filing a complaint against Pervez Musharraf and deputed a prosecution team headed by senior lawyer Akram Sheikh.

They stated that charge was framed against Pervez Musharraf on February 18, 2014, where after the convict left the country and avoided to face trial.

The petitioners said that Pervez Musharraf was declared a proclaimed offender after many opportunities were provided to him but he did not turn up and the case culminated into his conviction and sentence of death on December 17, 2019.

They argued that except the prime minister, the other five respondents had levelled different allegations against the president of the special court, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, also the chief justice of PHC, and tried to scandalise him.

They contended that the said five respondents were subordinates to the prime minister and under the Rules of Business they were answerable to him, but he neither took any action against them nor issued any clarification in that regard, which proved that he was also involved with them in the commission of contempt of court.

They argued that Article 204 of the Constitution in clear terms provided that a court should have powers to punish any person who scandalised the court or otherwise did anything which tended to bring the court or a judge of the court into hatred, ridicule or contempt.

They stated that reading of the said article was sufficient to initiate contempt of court proceedings against all those, who were involved in commission of the offence.

They stated that in past, a senator of PML-N, Nehal Hashmi, was disqualified by the Supreme Court for committing contempt of court.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2020