‘Planted’ TV interview: Two-judge panel to probe off-air clips

Published: June 16, 2012

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry chairing the full court meeting in the Supreme Court building on Friday. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: 

A day after the video of a candid, off-air chit-chat between two television anchors and real-estate magnate Malik Riaz Hussain went viral on the internet, the Supreme Court decided to take action against those behind the ‘planted show’.

This came against the backdrop of a disquieting corruption scandal involving Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Chaired by the chief justice, the full court, or all 17 judges of the apex court, expressed on Friday “its faith and determination in maintaining and further strengthening the independence of the judiciary, so as to ensure free, fair and impartial dispensation of justice by the court,” read a statement issued by the court.

The court reviewed the show’s on-air and off-air footage submitted by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), terming it a ‘conspiracy’ against the judiciary.

Justice Chaudhry subjected Pemra Chairman Abdul Jabbar to critical questions, particularly about his authority’s role in preventing the telecast of contemptuous and scandalous material against the judiciary.

“What action have you taken after the video surfaced?” Justice Chaudhry asked the Pemra chief.

A visibly embarrassed Jabbar came up with an evasive answer: The authority issues show-cause notices to those who violate code of conduct.

“Show us the action you have taken,” Justice Chaudhry asked.

After watching the video, the full court noted that “on the face of it, the footage showing the conversation behind-the-scene smells of a planned conspiracy to shake public faith/confidence in the administration of justice and undermine the dignity/prestige of the court, thereby tending to bring the court/judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt”.

“It further tends to prejudice the determination of pending cases before the Supreme Court. It, therefore, warrants action under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003,” the statement added.

The court tasked a committee, comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, to pursue the matter and ascertain facts. The court resolved to call upon the Pemra chief to submit a comprehensive report to the Supreme Court registrar, who will then place it before the committee.

The court had directed Jabbar to submit a report and produce the full and unedited footage of the behind-the-scenes conversation on a CD along with multimedia equipment in the Supreme Court.

The video uploaded on video-sharing website YouTube on Thursday sent shockwaves in the media world as conversations between TV anchors Meher Bokhari, Mubashir Lucman and real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz appeared to be completely scripted. The video includes dozens of sound bites that would implicate the anchors of scripting the entire show.

(Read: Revelling in revelations)

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.

Reader Comments (7)

  • YP Toronto
    Jun 16, 2012 - 5:27AM

    “Malik Riaz Planted Intervie…”
    This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Dunya News.

    Well, well, Dunya news said they have nothing to hide!

    Recommend

  • OH BOY!
    Jun 16, 2012 - 7:06AM

    May Allah bless our chief justice and give him strength to help our country out of turmoil. Whatever he may have done in the past doesnt matter as long as he has mend his way and moved forward towards the betterment of the society. HE should put Bokhari and Luqman behind bars too for be accessories to a conspiracy. Hope itll teach a lesson to everyone else too

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  • Jibran
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:27AM

    The arrogance of the CJP, and his son. President does not have any immunity, only they do.

    Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:28AM

    The PCO judges are abusing the contempt ordinance as the blasphemy law. And this is sickening.

    Recommend

  • Iram
    Jun 16, 2012 - 9:17AM

    What about GEO TV? They are running a campaign against PPP or especially against Mr. President from a so long. They disgrace him, disrespect him but when they complain SC says, ” it is freedom of speech”.

    Now where freedom of speech gone? Rule of law should be for everyone.

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  • Supressed, Opressed, Depressed
    Jun 16, 2012 - 10:50AM

    @Jibran: What are you smoking? It would be sickening if the court had not taken any notice or action about this issue. The CJP is probably the one guy I can trust in Pakistan right now.

    Recommend

  • Zafar Sultan
    Jun 16, 2012 - 6:47PM

    OH Boy made beautiful soul searching comments .Let us pray his wishes achieved

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