ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday filed an application before the accountability court of Islamabad seeking live media coverage of his trial proceeding in LNG-Terminal project reference.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, counsel for the ex premier, argued before judge Azam Khan that the court may evolve standard operating procedure (SOP) for audio-video recording (AVR) for the trial.

He argued that under Article 19-A of the constitution it is the right of public to know factual information and the people would get the authentic information about the trial through live coverage.

Mr Khan pointed out recently the Indian Supreme Court had permitted live streaming aimed at increasing transparency and preventing overcrowding in the courtrooms.

“There are other public benefits; let the people know whether their representatives are innocent or corrupt or they have been involved in false and politically motivated cases; let the people see whether complaints are ‘stock witnesses’, whether the case is politically motivated,” the application said.

In this case, the petition said: “The complainant and NAB had launched a media campaign against the applicant; now let the people of Pakistan see the trial themselves on the same media that carried live allegations,” it added.

“It is prayed that this honorable court may allow live streaming of the whole trial of the applicant at [his] cost,” the petition concluded.

The court exempted Abdullah Khaqan, son of ex-premier Abbasi, who has he tested coronavirus positive from personal attendance.

The prosecution informed the court that the notices to two suspects have been served abroad. Further proceeding has been adjourned till Thursday (today).

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2020

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