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November 12, 2019

Nawaz Sharif’s bail issue: Govt’s remarks about deal a charge sheet against it, says IHC

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November 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday remarked that the government’s remarks about deal in the matter of Nawaz Sharif’s bail on medical ground are a charge sheet against the government. The IHC issued a contempt of court notice to Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan for his controversial remarks over the bail of PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, while appearing on a private television channel, had remarked that former prime ministerNawaz Sharif’s bail is part of a deal and the medical report which was submitted to the Islamabad High Court could be fake.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday took up the petition seeking contempt proceedings against Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan over his statement that Nawaz Sharif’s release on bail was a deal.

The court has issued notice to the Minister for Aviation and sought his reply. The court has directed him to appear before the court on November 14. A petition was moved against Ghulam Sarwar Khan on the basis of his statement he made in a television show. The petition stated that the minister committed contempt of court by linking Nawaz Sharif's release on bail with a deal between him and the PTI government.

During the hearing, petitioner’s lawyer Advocate Jahangir Jadoon said that Ghulam Sarwar Khan had also said that fake medical report could be issued to make the deal successful. To this, Justice Athar Minallah remarked how a federal minister could say this when the government has framed medical board. Justice Minallah showed serious concerns and said politics is correct but such remarks damage the repute and credibility of the system.

The IHC Chief Justice directed the Registrar Office to consolidate the petition of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and the plea against Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan. To this, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan who was present in the courtroom said that her petition has nothing to do with the matter of Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

At this, Justice Athar remarked that she held a press conference on government's behalf while now another minister had given such statement. “This is the reason that both the petitions would be heard together,” he added.

Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Sarwar Khan did not make any statement about the medical board on which the counsel of the petitioner against Khan said that he termed his bail a "deal". At this, Ashiq said that she can read the transcript of his statement.

The IHC Chief Justice remarked how a federal minister could say such a thing to which she said that the reality was not like that it was being represented in the court.

Justice Minallah remarked, "How can the government ministers make such statements?” On it, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that it may be the personal opinion of Ghulam Sarwar Khan but it was not the government's policy.

"Does the government not trust its medical board”? CJ asked. Justice Minallah remarked, "There will be serious consequences if the government does not trust its own institutions". Dr Firdous told the court that Ghulam Sarwar Khan did not say anything about the medical board. To this Justice Athar Minallah remarked, "You are Prime Minister's spokesperson and if you are not taking action against Ghulam Sarwar Khan it means that it was all done on the basis of your decision".

Referring to Dr Firdous’ case, Justice Minallah remarked, "When you will impact pending cases, it will also affect other cases."

Later, the court issued a notice to Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan and sought his reply till next hearing on Thursday and directed him to appear before the court in person. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday submitted an unconditional apology before the Islamabad High Court in a contempt of court case. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in her written apology stated that she held the court in highest esteem and that in her press conference statement, she did not, at all, intended to prejudice the pendency of proceedings before the court, which may affect the right of a fair trial of a litigant.

She argued that the press conference was not specifically focused on the medical bail judgment and the comment was issued in response to a targeted question by a journalist.

She said that her remarks were not to undermine the authority of the bench. Dr Firdous said that she never intended to give the impression that the court extended special dispensation to Nawaz Sharif. She said that she could not even think to do anything, which might cause any inconvenience or lend to commit contempt.

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