Two federal ministers, PM aide summoned over ‘contempt’

Published November 27, 2020
Federal ministers Barrister Farogh Naseem (right) and Fawad Chaudhry (middle), special assistant to the prime minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar have been summoned by the PHC. — DawnNewsTV/White Star
Federal ministers Barrister Farogh Naseem (right) and Fawad Chaudhry (middle), special assistant to the prime minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar have been summoned by the PHC. — DawnNewsTV/White Star

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday summoned two federal ministers, an aide to the premier and two others over two identical petitions seeking their prosecution for committing contempt of a special court, which had awarded death sentence to former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf last year for high treason.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar ordered the alleged contemnors, including federal ministers Barrister Farogh Naseem and Fawad Chaudhry, special assistant to the prime minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar, former aide to the premier Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan to appear before it on the next hearing to be fixed later.

It was hearing two identical petitions filed by lawyers Malik Ajmal Khan and Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel under Article 204 of the Constitution and Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.

The bench also directed the petitioners to file their respective replies to a formal request of federal law minister Barrister Farogh Naseem for the rejection of petitions insisting they are not maintainable under the Constitution.

Deputy attorney general Amir Javed appeared before the bench and contended that the petitions were filed under Article 204 of the Constitution, which was only related to the contempt of the Supreme Court and high courts.

Petitions filed with PHC about ‘bids to scandalise’ special court that convicted Musharraf

He added that the special court constituted to try retired General Musharraf was not included in that Article and therefore, the petitions were not maintainable.

The bench wondered why the alleged contemnors weren’t appearing before it in the case.

The DAG claimed that the alleged contemnors had never been summoned.

He requested the court to decide the application field for the rejection of petitions first instead of holding proceedings in petitions.

The bench observed that the respondents except the prime minister should appear before it on the next hearing.

Although Prime Minister Imran Khan is also respondent in the petitions, the high court has so far not sought his reply in the case.

In the petition of Malik Ajmal, the respondents included Farogh Naseem, Firdous Ashiq Awan, who is currently a special assistant to the Punjab chief minister, and Shehzad Akber, while besides them, federal minister Fawad Chaudhry and Anwar Mansoor are also respondents in the petition of Syed Azizuddin.

Apart from prosecuting the contemnors, petitioner Azizuddin has also requested the court to disqualify the prime minister and other respondents from holding any public office for committing the contempt of court.

The petitioners said the federal government had constituted a special court after filing a complaint against retired General Pervez Musharraf.

They said the charge was framed against Musharraf on Feb 18, 2014, while he left the country thereafter avoiding the trial.

The petitioners said Musharraf was declared a proclaimed offender followed by many opportunities given to him but he did not turn up and the case went on culminating into his conviction and sentence of death on Dec 17, 2019.

They said except the prime minister, the other five respondents had leveled different allegations against the president of the special court, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, who was the then chief justice of the Peshawar High Court, and thus, trying to scandalise him.

The petitioners contended that those respondents were subordinate to the prime minister and under the Rules of Business, they were answerable to him, but the premier neither took any action against them nor was any clarification issued in this regard, proving that he [PM] was also involved with them in the commission of the contempt of court.

They said the reading of the said Article of the Constitution was sufficient to initiate the contempt of court proceedings against all those involved in the commission of the offence.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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