Defamation case: Court issues warrants against TV owner, anchorperson

Our Correspondent
August 11, 2022

KARACHI: A sessions court here has summoned Salman Iqbal, chief executive officer of ARY Network, and anchorperson Arshad Sharif, through bailable arrest warrants issued against them in a case...

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KARACHI: A sessions court here has summoned Salman Iqbal, chief executive officer of ARY Network, and anchorperson Arshad Sharif, through bailable arrest warrants issued against them in a case pertaining to running a smear campaign through a talk show, Power Play, against Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Additional Sessions Judge-XI (South) Naseer Noor Khan gave the go-ahead to the prosecution of both the accused, observing that there is sufficient material to proceed against them.

Independent Newspapers Corporation Pvt Ltd and Independent Media Corporation Pvt Ltd, through their authorised representative Muhammad Suleman, filed a private complaint against Iqbal and Sharif under sections 499, 500, 501, and 502 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The complainants stated that in a talk show, Power Play, on ARY News on February 1 and 2, the anchorperson at the behest of the channel’s CEO misinterpreted the January 31 judgement of a Lahore accountability court that acquitted Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case on merit on basis of material available on record. The accused deliberately twisted the facts to defame the Jang Group’s editor-in-chief, the complainants added.

“In the said program, the accused No. 2 [Sharif] while showing first page of the judgment dated 31-01-2022 of the Accountability Court No. 1, Lahore, claimed that Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman was acquitted by the said court on application under Section 265-K of CrPC due to the amendments in ‘NAB’ Ordinance in the year 2021,” the judge noted in the three-page order.

“The perusal of the said judgment dated 31-01-2022 shows that Honourable Accountability Court No. 1, Lahore, while passing judgment apparently did not rely on the NAB Amendments added/amended in the year 2021 and gave its conclusive finding in para No. 24, of the said judgment,” he said.

The relevant para reproduced in the order read, “There is no supportive material with the prosecution to prove involvement of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman and his co accused in this case and there is no probability of the petitioner/ accused and his co accused being convicted, hence further proceedings in the case would be nothing but a futile exercise which must be curbed under section 265-K Cr.P.C. The court is competent to exercise its power under section 265-K Cr.P.C. where, taking available material as true, yet there is no probability of conviction or where charge appears to be groundless and further process would be nothing but an abuse of process of law.”

The judge observed that the complainants have brought sufficient material against the accused and have made out, prima facie, a case for their under sections 500, 501 and 502 read with Section 499 of the PPC.

While taking cognisance of the offences, the court issued bailable warrants against Salman Iqbal and Arshad Sharif to procure their attendance in the court on next date of hearing slated for Aug 20.



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