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September 21, 2017

IHC suspends proceedings against media group


September 21, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here Wednesday stayed proceedings against Jang/Geo group in a case where Ms Axact Private Limited filed a criminal complaint against the largest media group at district courts of Islamabad for publishing a news article regarding the conviction of an Axact fake degree scandal character Umair Hamid.

Editor-in-Chief Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geo  TV, Mir Ibrahim-ur- Rahman and The News journalist Umar Cheema at IHC challenged the proceedings initiated by an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) East in this matter.

Today IHC bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani stayed proceedings at the district courts and adjourned hearing till October 18.

Before IHC, legal counsel for Jang/Geo group Amir Abdullah Abbasi advocate argued that the News article was published on facts and it stood proved in the light of an Axact official Umair who had been convicted by an American court under the same allegations.

The news was based on the documents available at the US Department of Justice website and Axact did not deny those. The court of ADSJ issuing process in this matter had directed Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Mir Ibrahim-ur-Rahman and Umar Cheema to appear before the court through May 27 and July 13 orders.

In their petition before the IHC, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Mir Ibrahim-ur-Rehman and Umar Cheema challenging proceedings adopted that Axact filed a criminal complaint under section 499, 501, 502, 502-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 200 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) alleging that fake news was published.

Nominating ADSJ East and Ms Axact Private Limited as respondents, the petitioners adopted that on May 27, 2017 ADSJ issued notices to the petitioners. However the petitioner on June 6, 2017 filed an application for quashing the case before the same court. ADSJ without deciding petitioner's application issued process through an order dated July 13. The petitioners contended that the May 27 and July 13 orders of the ADSJ court were not sustainable in the eyes of law and liable to be set aside. That mere perusal of the contents itself revealed that there was no case for civil defamation what to talk of criminal defamation was made out.

That the News article published on April 9, 2017 in Daily Jang originated and emanated from documents of US government and the complainant had not moved against the US Department of Justice. The petitioners further adopted that news item was covered by several other TV channels and newspapers and Jang/Geo group gave no discriminatory treatment to this case. That Jang Group did not publish any news item on its own but what it was in the documents. The petitioners requested the court to declare the proceedings initiated by the court of ADSJ as illegal, unlawful and void and quash these proceedings. IHC bench hearing arguments stayed proceedings and put of hearing till October 18.

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