ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ordered the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) administration and registrar to refrain from stopping lawyers, journalists and public from entering the complex during the hearings of references filed by the National Accountability Bureau against the Sharif family.
IHC Judge Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb said, “Whenever an open court conducts a trial, no one can restrain public from hearing the cases, otherwise it would be against the norms of justice.”
Instead of creating hurdles or barriers for journalists and advocates, the management should facilitate them for authentic and proper coverage of the cases, Justice Aurangzeb added.
The honourable judge ordered the Ministry of Interior secretary, police, administration and the registrar of the accountability court to ensure access of lawyers and journalists to the courts during the proceedings of high-profile cases.
The court issued these directions on a petition filed by advocate Shaista Tabbasum in response to the incident that occurred on October 2, when the administration did not allow journalists and advocates to enter the judicial complex to attend the hearing of interim references filed against the Sharif family.
The petitioner made secretary of Ministry of Interior, chief and deputy commissioners, inspector general of police, senior superintendent of police, DG Rangers, registrar accountability court and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority as respondents.
The petition said lawyers could not appear before different courts located in the complex due to the hearing of corruption references against Sharif and Dar.
It also said the blockage affected the professional activities of lawyers who are directly or indirectly connected with the NAB courts, Customs courts, CNS courts, special courts, environmental tribunal, insurance tribunal, Islamabad Bar Council and many other institutions located at the FJC.
Two references against Sharifs returned
Under the law, advocate Tabbasum said, it is the right of lawyers to appear before the courts and this law cannot be violated.
The petitioner requested the court to direct the respondents not to stop lawyers from appearing before the court.
On October 2, Rangers had turned the FJC into a no-go area for lawyers, journalists and the public apparently without any formal requisition from the district administration.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was left red-faced after he, along with several other stalwarts of the ruling party, were barred from entering the premises of the accountability court by the Rangers.
The denial had led to a fiery speech against the Rangers commander.
Terming the Rangers’ takeover of the accountability court trying Sharif as unlawful, the minister had said the man responsible for all this would be punished as neither he nor the chief commissioner Islamabad had ordered Rangers to control security arrangements of the court. (ADDITIONAL INPUT BY APP)