SC reserves ruling on live streaming of Isa case hearing

Published March 19, 2021
Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court bemoaned on Thursday that the judges who got blackmailed should better prefer committing suicide since they were not administering justice but following dictates.— Photo courtesy Supreme Court website
Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court bemoaned on Thursday that the judges who got blackmailed should better prefer committing suicide since they were not administering justice but following dictates.— Photo courtesy Supreme Court website

ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court bemoaned on Thursday that the judges who got blackmailed should better prefer committing suicide since they were not administering justice but following dictates.

“Today in Pakistan we cannot speak a simple truth and resort to euphemism,” Justice Isa regretted, adding that notion like “establishment”, a word which has never been mentioned anywhere, is used widely.

“Is the agriculture department (Mahakma Zara’at) or visit to Northern Areas (indirect expression to the missing persons) future of Pakistan? The owners of Bol TV, Dogars of this world and Shahzad Akbar Mirza of this world are the future of this country, but the son of the close associate of Quaid-i-Azam was a traitor,” Justice Isa regretted and closed his arguments by stating that he placed the future of “our children in the hands of the Supreme Court”.

A ten-judge SC bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, however, reserved its ruling on the application seeking permission for live streaming of the hearing of review petitions in the Justice Isa case.

Petitioner judge suggests placing cameras during federal cabinet meetings

“We will consult and ponder over the arguments advanced by Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhry Aamir Rehman and the petitioner judge [Justice Isa]. The review petitions will be fixed in near future,” the court said, adding that the case had to be decided as soon as possible since one of the members of the bench was retiring at the end of the next month.

Justice Isa, however, requested the court to consider issuing a short order in case or in any eventuality it was considering allowing live streaming since the writing of the judgement may take some time.

During the hearing, Rasheed A. Razvi, representing the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), furnished a resolution supporting the request of Justice Isa for live telecast.

The resolution highlighted a number of instances and precedents in the past around the globe where the proceedings of important cases were telecast live in the public interest and said that since the case of Justice Isa had immense importance, it needed to be telecast live.

Citing Cameras in the Courtroom Act of the United States, Justice Isa suggested that cameras should also be placed in the federal cabinet meetings so that people could know how much it discussed the governance issues and how much time it spent on politics. He alleged that Information Minister Shibli Faraz had violated his oath of office when he issued political statements during a live coverage by PTV, a public corporation, wondering whether rules allowed live telecast when Prime Minister Imran Khan talked of politics.

“Where in the law it has been written to telecast live the speech of those who start their pronouncement by stating ‘My Dear Countrymen’ because they have the power of the gun?” Justice Isa asked. He said the most offensive word for the Muslims, Kafir (infidel), was not an Islamic word and mentioned the word Kipper or Kofer in Hebrew that means the one who conceals the truth. But the person who was hypocrite should be castigated more than Kafir, Justice Isa said.

Justice Bandial reminded the petitioner judge that each word he uttered was carried and captured by the media and could be capitalised or conveyed in a different meaning like the word “gutter” he used the other day. “Don’t use the words which may be misinterpreted,” he suggested.

Referring to the arguments that the court proceedings were in legal jargon, Justice Isa said what the federation in fact was saying was that the people of Pakistan were “Jahil” (ignorant) and added that the same ignorant people created Pakistan and always appreciated father of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah whose mother tongue was Gujrati but he was fluent in English. But the dictators had destroyed the country and divided it into two, he regretted.

Justice Isa regretted that “we start to shiver when we talk of Gen Ziaul Haq or Gen Pervez Musharraf”.

Referring to the arguments that the judges spoke through their judgements, Justice Isa said let the people know about the decisions when the judgements came and the journalist covering the hearing should be asked to leave the courtroom.

About the unwanted public gaze, Justice Isa wondered if the media was really so independent then why the PFUJ had announced starting a long march from Quetta.

On open court, Justice Isa recalled that he was told that each judge of the bench, which decided the murder case of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had personnel behind them with gun pointing at their temple.

“Only Bhutto was a bad man but we used to call proudly Mard-i-Momin Mard-i-Haq Ziaul Haq,” he regretted, adding that videos to blackmail senators and accountability judges in compromising position were live-streamed and statements from death cell or NAB jail were run on the national hook-up, but not court hearing. “Don’t destroy Pakistan by indulging in such tactics.”

Justice Isa regretted that the prime minister had stated that the opposition wanted to highlight a judge and even had the audacity to attack a constitutional body like the Election Commission of Pakistan, which comprised “judges like us and their status is equal like us”.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2021

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