Anti-judiciary rant on social media: Lahore High Court accepts apology of PMS officials

Published April 29, 2021
The chief justice observed that the civil servants should submit details of their cellular numbers and social media accounts to the relevant departments. — File
The chief justice observed that the civil servants should submit details of their cellular numbers and social media accounts to the relevant departments. — File

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Wednesday took exception to use of social media by the civil servants and hinted at passing an appropriate order in this regard.

The chief justice observed that the civil servants should submit details of their cellular numbers and social media accounts to the relevant departments.

He remarked that the departments should decide a code for the civil servants to use the social media.

CJ Khan was hearing a petition against holding of protest/strike by the public functionaries and running a campaign against the judiciary on social media in the wake of the arrest of an assistant commissioner ordered by a civil judge in Sahiwal.

The PMS Officers Association had sought an unconditional apology from the court on behalf of the officers involved in the anti-judiciary protests and objectionable posts on social media.

On Wednesday, association’s president Naveed Shahzad Mirza personally appeared before the court and tendered the apology. He assured the court that no such negligence would take place in future.

Chief Justice Khan admitted the unconditional apology of the association and withdrew contempt proceedings initiated against the officials.

Last year, Sahiwal’s former civil judge Muhammad Naeem had summoned then assistant commissioner Muhammad Haider in a case against encroachments in the city. The officer failed to appear before the court despite several notices and the civil judge finally issued warrants for his arrest. The AC, reportedly, got into a heated argument with the judge when he made his appearance in the court. The judge ordered his staff to detain the AC and handcuff him before shifting him to jail.

However, some lawyers intervened in the matter and the AC tendered an apology before the court after which he was released. Later administrative and revenue staff in different parts of the province went on strike against the treatment meted out to the AC. They also held protests against the judiciary.

Later, a lawyer filed a petition before the LHC seeking action against the government officials for holding protests against the judiciary. The chief justice had ordered the FIA to identify the officers involved in the protests and take action against them. The assistant commissioner had already tendered his unconditional apology before the court.

In this case, the chief justice had also taken notice of a press conference held by Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan apparently to support the stance of the protesting civil servants.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2021

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