Awan contempt case: Lawyer favours ‘freedom of speech’ over ‘freedom of judiciary’

Published: February 20, 2012

Babar Awan's lawyer says court issued contempt notice prima facie and Awan did not commit any contempt. PHOTO: INP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Former law minister Babar Awan’s lawyer Ali Zafar upheld ‘freedom of speech’ during the contempt of court hearing against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader in the Supreme Court on Monday, Express News reported. He said that the freedom of speech cannot be barred in the name of the freedom of judiciary.

Zafar said that the court issued the contempt notice prima facie, and asked the two-member bench, comprising Justice Ijaz Afzal and Justice Athar, to point out exactly where Awan had committed contempt in his December 1 press conference.

The bench remarked that it was clear that Awan had committed contempt by the way he mocked the judiciary in his press conference, but Zafar insisted that the contempt law is only present to ensure the respect for judiciary and not to punish people.

However, the bench stated that no compromise can be made when it comes to the judiciary’s respect.

Awan’s statement was also read out by his lawyer during the hearing which stated that his press conference was not against the court. Awan mentioned that he was grieved if the court’s dignity was hurt by any of his statements.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till March 1, during which the video of Awan’s press conference will be aired.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Feb 20, 2012 - 1:27PM

    Babar Awan we are with u, i regret for being part of that movement for restoration of Judges, our problems are still there, Chief Justice take notices of everything but the sum result is always a big ZERO

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  • H.A. Khan
    Feb 20, 2012 - 1:30PM

    Strange: a lawyer pleading and preferring freedom of speech over freedom of judiciary and respect of judiciary.

    In the Indian case of EMS Namboodivipad v. TN Nambiar,(AIR 1970 SC.) the
    Chief Minister of Kerala made a public statement accusing judges of class
    bias:
    Marx and Engels considered the judiciary an instrument of oppression and even
    today… it continues so…. Judges are guided and dominated by class hatred, class
    interests and class prejudices and where the evidence is balanced between a well
    dressed pot-bellied man and a poor ill-dressed and illiterate person the Judge
    instinctively favours the former.
    The Supreme Court upheld his conviction for contempt of court, reasoning
    that “the likely effects of his words must be seen and they have clearly the
    effect of lowering the prestige of Judges and Courts in the eyes of the
    people.”

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  • Logic Europe
    Feb 20, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Court is king but a fake one

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  • Beatle
    Feb 20, 2012 - 4:06PM

    @H.A. Khan:
    Agreeg 100% plus. You may add to the list (1) political bias and (2) nepotism.

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  • Logic Europe
    Feb 20, 2012 - 4:11PM

    Why is everyone on contempt of this court and why does this court hide behind full and larger benches?

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  • Saleem
    Feb 20, 2012 - 4:21PM

    There has to be a distinction between Freedom of Speech and tirade against highest court of the land. Those who can’t respect highest court of the land should be barred to stand in front of the court.

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  • butt jee
    Feb 20, 2012 - 4:57PM

    Freedom of speech does not mean hurling insults on the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The lawyers’ resolution is hypocritical and should be condemned. Babar Awan in any case does not deserve any leniency. He has been the most foul mouthed individual and additionally has all along been cheating the nation with his fake degrees. As a matter of fact he is not fit to hold any public office.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Feb 20, 2012 - 6:43PM

    Buttje…well said……Recommend

  • Imran
    Feb 20, 2012 - 6:53PM

    The truth is… There is something terribly wrong with this judiciary!

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  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Feb 20, 2012 - 7:06PM

    This picture and the TV footage is nothing else but contempt of court. he cracked jokes at the court and enjoyed his jesters laughing at the court. The man has a history of contempt. He needs to be disqualified from the court for life. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Feb 20, 2012 - 7:45PM

    The truth is not just Babar Awan but the whole world is laughing at the PCO SC and its performance. From Asghar Khan, Abbottabad, Mehran Base, GHQ attack, mutilated bodies of Baloch, releasing terrorists and Ray Davis, Memogate, and the list goes on and on. To answer one of the above comments “why large benches” in SC? They have nothing else to do except like Ali Baba gang and cover each other. The 17 judges in the bench could takke a dozen different cases and work on the back log rotting for decades for lack of hearing. Justice delayed is justice denied. Did anybody hear 17 judges benches in India or any other country?

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  • Reader
    Feb 20, 2012 - 11:45PM

    Our judiciary loses not a single opportunity to get a fame and any one who dare to challenge such opportunity or even try’s to avail it, they’ll go after it. Ordinary denizens of this country don’t like him for various reasons and same goes for lawyers (including one in PPP or their allies) but such reason can not out weigh the hatred people have against Judiciary now. because from day 1, the very said Judiciary (PCO of 1999) turned their backs to the public at large, and started to avenge their personal vendetta’s against political parties (those were allegedly against their restoration).
    Secondly they proved they are not any different to political parties, they chanted slogans and lured the poor awam with promises but ended up becoming a facade’ of Military establishment.
    thirdly, not a single attempt was made by Our Honourable SC to bring Musharraf back in country, who is allegedly man behind all evils in country. So what is the use of such a judiciary? who appoint judges based upon who received more batons on their backs or who chanted more slogans?
    if they wanted to prove themselves any good than previous regime of judges, then they should have proved it through their judgments and actions? victimizing civilians is the real exercise of power??

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  • Saad
    Feb 21, 2012 - 3:25AM

    A judiciary that mocks other 24/7 deserves a taste of their own medicine.

    We are with you Babar Awan!

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  • farooq qamar
    Feb 21, 2012 - 9:25AM

    cj poses as if he is very fair and unbiased. look at the enviable positions that the partners of athar minalluah (chief spokesperson of cj) have landed. and u will get an idea of just how good the cj actually is

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Feb 21, 2012 - 2:47PM

    Reply to Imran….there is nothing wrong with our judiciary TODAY..they are trying to ensure implementation of law as per constitution which was absent for more that 60 yrs.Hence, people ( expecially the govt / politicians etc; ) are not very comfortable with the changed independent attitude of the judiciary as are not used to this.Even media is partly responsible for creating this biased impresion for their own self-interest against serving some vested interest.We hv to change our mindset…Recommend

  • Seema Shaikh
    Feb 22, 2012 - 2:47AM

    @Ishrat Salim: Which constitution they are implementing. …. constitution say President has immunity he says no, constitution say petition should be filed in lower court they say no Nawaz shareef brought it we have to consider it. Our media and few internet surfer cannot make the opinion of people, He remained PCO judge for almost ten years under Musharuff, suddenly every sin he commited washed away, and become an angel. Observe his bias attitude towards PPP.leadership,

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:51AM

    Wow what a supremacy of Supreme Court and the decisions of Supreme Court in Pakistan by PPP!!!!!!!!Accept only that decisions of Supreme Court which are in your favor and when time comes to accept that decisions which are against you then give such this type of statement.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Feb 22, 2012 - 12:46PM

    Seema Shaikh…I knew some PPP jiyalas will definetely come up with this…freedom of speech is yr right & so it is mine…one cannot just say ” President has immunity “…it has to be argued on the basis of ones case – in this case ” the President ” as any clause can be interpreted by the court – that is its constitutional responsibility…listen to many of the renowned jurists / advocate / lawyers…till pre-contemp case of PM this same Mr Aitzaz was claiming that letter shud be written & then after he was appointed PM`s lawyer he made U turn…??Recommend

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