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Sunday July 14, 2024

‘Freedom of expression doesn’t cover campaign against IHC judge’

Bench said that purpose of malicious and ridiculous campaign was to spread hatred against court

By Asim Javed
July 10, 2024
A general outside view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File
A general outside view of the Islamabad High Court building. — Geo News/File

ISLAMABAD: The seven-member larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a written order in the contempt-of-court case related to the social media campaign against Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri.

The order issued by the larger bench, headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, stated that the court’s attention was drawn towards the social media campaign against Justice Jahangiri.

The bench said that the purpose of the malicious and ridiculous campaign was to spread hatred against the court and to violate its sanctity, adding that prima facie, contempt of court was committed through the social media campaign.

The high court issued notices to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), ordering them to file a report within four weeks.

The bench directed Pemra, the PTA and the FIA to identify the accounts that ran the campaign to damage the reputation of the IHC judge.

The court also issued notices to journalists Gharida Farooqi and Hassan Ayub through the FIA, seeking an explanation within four weeks, and directed them to include the contents of their tweets in their replies.

The bench also directed the FIA to issue notices to the account holders named Amar Solangi, Ejaz Khan, Dr Syeda Sadaf, Ayat Gul, Mir Sahib, Aqsa Hourin and Misbah, saying that they participated in the social media campaign against the judge. The court said that all the persons should file their response within four weeks.

The IHC appointed the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association, the IHC Bar Association and the Islamabad Bar Council as amici curiae.

The Pakistan Broadcasters Association, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, and AMEND were also appointed as amici curiae in the case. The bench said in the written order that an organised campaign was launched against a judge to influence political cases, and that it does not fall under the category of freedom of expression. The court directed its office to schedule the case for hearing immediately after the summer holidays.