The army and judiciary are protected from ridicule under the Constitution, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday, while hearing a plea questioning the ‘negative role of media’ in the aftermath of the Abottabad raid.
A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, advised the counsel for Sardar Muhammad Ghazi, a petitioner and former attorney general, to consider certain aspects of his plea and adjourned the hearing.
During the proceedings, the chief justice observed that the judiciary would not allow anything against the integrity of the country and its national security.
Raja Irshad, counsel for the petitioner, told the bench that journalist Najam Sethi and former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani attempted to defame the army after the May 2 operation – disregarding the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority’s (Pemra) rules and regulations and Article 19 of the Constitution, which bar any language against the army and judiciary on television.
The bench, however, also questioned the objectives behind the petitioner’s plea and observed that if he (the petitioner) was aggrieved against any media personnel, he should file a defamation case.
“What do you people want to prove from such petitions,” the chief justice asked the petitioner during the proceedings, adding that the bench needed material which would prove that the Constitution had been violated.
The bench also stopped him from reading a statement of Haqqani, which was submitted before the commission probing the Abbottabad operation.
Chief Justice Chaudhry observed that the court’s job was to protect the Constitution, adding that the state’s security affairs could not come under discussion before the court in this manner. Meanwhile, Justice Gulzar said that probing this issue would open a Pandora’s Box, further defaming key institutions of the state. The case was adjourned for an indefinite period.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2013.