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February 28, 2018

When did IHC ban Valentine’s Day celebration, asks Justice Siddiqui

Top Story

February 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday directed the producer of Geo TV programme 'Report Card' to personally appear before the court to explain why a court order placing a ban on public celebration of Valentine’s Day was ridiculed.

On February 20, the court took notice of a discussion about Valentine’s Day in the programme and directed the Geo News CEO Mir Ibrahim Rahman, anchor Ayesha Bakhsh and participants Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam to personally appear before the court to explain "why contempt of court proceedings may not be initiated against them and why Pemra may not be directed to initiate proceedings for cancellation of license of Geo News”.

The respondents then challenged the single bench order that is also fixed for hearing next week.

A division bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, on Feb 26 suspended paras 3 and 4 of the single bench order related to personal appearance of the respondents.

For March 8 hearing, the IHC single bench has directed the producer of the program to appear before the court.

On Tuesday, legal counsel for the Geo News and the program participants argued before the bench that the court had no jurisdiction in this matter.

The bench, however, said it would also hear the objections raised by the defendants.

Expressing displeasure, the bench asked as to why the court order was misinterpreted in the programme.

Justice Siddiqui directed the legal counsel to read out the February 13, 2017 order and asked where he had banned the individual celebration of Valentine’s Day.

He said the order was specific with regard to the celebration of the day at public places and publicity on the electronic media.

“Where have I stopped Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam to not give away flowers at their homes?”

The counsel said both Hassan Nisar and Imtiaz Alam were veteran journalists who had rendered sacrifices for democracy and rule of law, and the remarks were inappropriate.

At this, the bench said such a senior journalist was ridiculing the court order. Addressing the counsel, Justice Siddiqui said: “Make them understand that no comments can be made on a sub judice matter.”

The bench asked why these intellectuals were trying to impose Valentine’s Day on the nation.

‘If the West starts celebrating ‘wine day’, should we follow? They are calling names to the court and terming it mentally sick. They want to impose a bad custom on the society,” remarked Justice Siddiqui.

Justice Siddiqui said Imtiaz Alam was now past the age of giving away flowers. “Now he can only give cauliflower,” Justice Siddiqui remarked, adding Imtiaz Alam should change his name to “Valentine Alam.”

The counsel said the court should not pass personal remarks. He told the judge that many references were pending against him.

Justice Siddiqui said the counsel too could file a reference. The program was also played in the court at the start of proceedings.

Justice Siddiqui inquired who had written the script for Ayesha Bakhsh. The legal counsel said she was speaking extempore. The court then directed the programme producer to also appear in the next hearing. Further hearing will be held on March 8.

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