Sarina Isa moves SC to initiate contempt proceedings against Fawad Chaudhry over 'highly offensive' tweet
Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa's wife Sarina Isa on Monday filed an application in the apex court for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Minister For Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain over a "highly offensive" tweet.
In a tweet earlier this week, Hussain had said that he had been "listening to the speeches of an undertrial judge (Justice Isa) of the Supreme Court for a week. If [I] answer, then lectures will start [ranging from] we are saddened to we have been insulted.
"Sir, if you too are fond of politics like your godfather Iftikhar Chaudhry (former chief justice of Pakistan), then resign and contest elections for the councillor. You will get to know about both [your] popularity and acceptance," Hussain had further said.
In her petition, Sarina said Hussain through his tweet had "confirmed that secret cameras have been installed in the courtroom because he was hearing all that happened in [it], despite never having once attended a single hearing".
She contended that her husband was still a judge of the Supreme Court and not an "undertrial prisoner", adding that by referring to Justice Isa as an undertrial judge, the federal minister had "committed contempt of this court and of a sitting judge of this court".
She also referred to Hussain's use of the word godfather in his tweet, saying that it was a term used for criminal syndicates and mafia bosses and was thus "highly offensive to the dignity and respect of this honourable court [and] constitutes gross contempt".
"Ch Fawad Hussain has violated his ministerial oath of office, the Constitution of Pakistan, mocked and ridiculed this honourable court's former chief justice, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and committed contempt of this honourable court," the petition stated.
"If judges of the highest court of Pakistan are humiliated, disrespected and abused in this manner by a federal minister, then the Twitter brigade at their command and the combatants of the 5th generation warfare do much worse," it added.
Sarina said that Hussain had "encouraged a barrage of attacks against Justice Isa" and he and others in the government wanted Justice Isa "not to hold his government accountable".
She added that the minister's tweets "present an intolerant and autocratic government and the image of a powerless Supreme Court, which has serious repercussions and undermines the independence and credibility of this honourable court".
Sarina requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Hussain, punish him appropriately, remove him from office and direct him to shut down his Twitter account.
Voices of support
Meanwhile, #IStandWithFawadChaudhary was among the top trends on Twitter as government officials voiced support for the minister.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Shahbaz Gill said that besides being the minister of science and technology, Hussain was also a "political personality" who always respects the courts.
Referring to a remark allegedly made by Justice Isa during a court hearing earlier, Gill claimed that "if you call the country a gutter, then who understands politics and political statements better than Chaudhry.
"Chaudhry will give an answer," he added.
Over the course of this month, Justice Isa has appeared multiple times before a 10-member bench of the Supreme Court which is hearing a set of review petitions in his case. He had earlier informed the court that he would be arguing the case himself.
Justice Isa had filed an application seeking a directive that the Pakistan Television Corporation be directed to broadcast live proceedings of the hearings. The Supreme Court reserved its ruling on the application on March 19.
During the last hearing, Justice Isa had bemoaned that the judges who got blackmailed should better prefer committing suicide since they were not administering justice but following dictates.
He 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".