ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) has issued a detailed verdict of contempt proceedings against the social media campaign against one of its judges, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri.

Last week, a letter began circulating on social media, purportedly from the University of Karachi’s controller of examinations regarding the law degree of Justice Jahan­giri.

The letter was shared by several social media activists and journalists, along with the subsequent complaint filed with the Supreme Judicial Council against the judge.

On Monday, an IHC full bench, comprising all seven judges, issued notices to two journalists and a social media activist for their alleged role in the campaign.

Full bench sends notices to journalists, investigation agencies and media bodies

In its detailed order, the court noted that the “scurrilous campaign” aimed to malign the judge “which amounts to an attempt to bring the Court into hatred, ridicule and disrespect and, prima facie, qualifies as contempt of Court”.

The court also issued notices to journalists Gharidah Farooqi and Hassan Ayub Khan and directed them to file responses within four weeks.

They have been asked to submit contents of their posts on social media platform X and “other materials in relation to the said Judge” which has been shared on their social media accounts.

The court also directed the FIA to serve notices to several X accounts, including one of Ammar Solangi, who claims to be a freelance journalist on his X account @fake_burster. Other X accounts are @ejazkhanpsp, @DrSyedaSadaf, @ayaatgul, @meersahab55, @HoorainAQSA and @MisbahMBB.

The court has also issued notices to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, Pakistan Telecom­mun­ication Authority and FIA director general to file their reports within four weeks. These reports will name individuals “who have participated in the smear campaign and/or shared content on media/social media to besmirch the credentials of the Judge”. The reports will also provide a timeline of the campaign which started on May 5, the order stated.

The seven-member full court has also sought assistance from Pakistan Broadcasters Assoc­iation, Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors, All Pakistan Newspaper Society, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) to assist the court on “the role of the media in relation to the principle of independence of the judiciary”.

It appointed the Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman, Supreme Court Bar Association president, Islamabad Bar Council vice chairman and presidents of Islamabad High Court Bar Association and Islamabad Bar Association as amici curiae “on the question of the independence and accountability of the judiciary.”

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Population calamity
Updated 22 Jul, 2024

Population calamity

Pakistan can also control its growth rate by following the examples of its peers and implementing functional family planning programmes and campaigns.
Blow to occupation
22 Jul, 2024

Blow to occupation

THE International Court of Justice has delivered a legal blow to the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
Seeking Priya Kumari
22 Jul, 2024

Seeking Priya Kumari

PRIYA Kumari — the minor girl who vanished on Ashura in 2021 while serving water at a sabeel in Sukkur district ...
Olympics contingent
21 Jul, 2024

Olympics contingent

FROM 10 in Tokyo the last time, it is now down to seven in Paris, and split across just three disciplines. When...
Grave concerns
21 Jul, 2024

Grave concerns

PUNJAB Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s open assault on the Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the PTI in the...
Civil unrest
Updated 21 Jul, 2024

Civil unrest

The government must start putting out fires instead of fanning more flames.