The apex court on Saturday served contempt of court notices to two ruling Pakistan Peoples Party members Taj Haider and Sharjeel Inam Memon, also a provincial legislator, for calling a strike and using contemptuous language against the superior judiciary for invalidating the appointment of former NAB chairman Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah and summoned them on April 1.
Both leaders have been directed to appear before the court to explain why proceedings under Article 204 of the constitution read with section 3 of the 2003 Contempt of Court Ordinance (Ordinance IV) may not be initiated against them.
On March 12, the apex court directed the chief secretary, Pemra’s acting chairman and Sindh Assembly secretary to submit reasons for the strike against the SC judgment organised by Taj Haider, the Sindh government’s media coordinator. The acting chairman submitted transcripts of the political leaders’ statements as proof of their use of contemptuous language.
According to the records, Haider said that legislators would take out a rally from the Sindh Assembly to the Sindh High Court to lodge a protest against what he called a ‘politically-motivated decision’ of the superior judiciary.
They would observe a general strike across Sindh against the “interference of the judiciary in administrative affairs”. He described the judgment as ‘biased’ because another person from Sindh was also removed from his post.
Sharjeel Memon stated that the “courts have dual standards” since they did not take any action against those who stormed the Supreme Court (SC) premises. “Tomorrow’s strike will be held in Sindh. Atrocities and injustices against Sindhis must be resisted.”
On March 10, Justice Javed Iqbal struck down the appointment of Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah on a petition filed by National Assembly opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and directed him to immediately relinquish charge. In the strike organised to protest against the judgment the next day, more than seven persons died in the ensuing violence. The court observed that citizen’s lives and properties were endangered.
After examining the record from the director general of the Intelligence Bureau Islamabad, home secretary Sindh and inspector general of police Sindh, the chief justice summoned both political leaders for contempt of court.
The court also sought assistance from the Attorney General of Pakistan, Advocate General Sindh, Supreme Court Bar Association president and the vice chairmen of both the Pakistan Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council for this case.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2011.