ISLAMABAD: Former law minister Babar Awan contended before the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he did not want his trial on contempt charges based upon submission of ‘single evidence’, like in the case of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
The apex court stopped him for drawing a parallel between his contempt of court trial and Dr Aafia’s case.
Dr Aafia was charged and found guilty by a US federal court for assault with the intent to kill her American interrogators at a US base in Afghanistan.
An apex court bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Athar Saeed, resumed hearing of the case and Awan objected to submission of evidence by the attorney general and requested the bench to note down his objection regarding the order.
In the absence of his counsel Barrister Ali Zafar, Awan said he did not want initiation of a trial like Dr Aafia’s in which only one evidence was submitted and the trial commenced. Justice Afzal told him not to make such comparisons.
He objected to Awan’s arguments and said that under the procedures, besides conventions and code of ethics, his counsel should place contentions on his behalf.
Responding to a query of Justice Ejaz Afzal, Awan said that under conventions and keeping in view the relationship between the bench and the bar, he had already submitted his apology.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir submitted a video CD of a press conference addressed by Awan on December 1, 2011 over the Memogate scandal and recorded his statement. Qadir informed the bench that he was not an eyewitness in the case and could not produce further evidence.
Justice Afzal told him that, being a public prosecutor, it was his duty to argue the case. Upon inquiry from the bench, Awan said that he needed at least eight weeks to compile his evidence and arrange witnesses.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.
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