LHC orders AGP to submit unconditional apology

The AGP had started shouting that the court could not pass any interim order


Our Correspondent April 05, 2019
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed Advocate General of Punjab Ahmed Awais to submit an unconditional apology over his contemptuous conduct by April 5 (today) in a show-cause notice issued against him under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2002.

The court ordered him to submit his written reply on his contemptuous conduct during the announcement of an interim order about Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the government for a fresh probe into Model Town incident.

As the proceedings commenced on the matter, the bench did not accept the written reply by the AGP in contempt notice and directed him to submit a comprehensive reply with an unconditional apology.

At one point, Justice Muhammad Qasim, the head of the bench, restrained AGP Awais from involving the bar representatives in this matter. He further remarked that the AGP should appear before the bench as a law officer. At this, the AGP contended the court that he always respected the judiciary and could not even think of disgracing the courts or pass contemptuous remarks. However, he implored that there was no need for issuance of a show-cause notice against him. He had just recorded his protest before the court and not created any mess in the courtroom.

The bench observed that apparently, the social media was giving an impression that perhaps the mess was created in the courtroom with the consent of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

Justice Aalia Neelum remarked that there were appropriate ways to request the court to mention his (AGP’s) point of view in the court order rather than creating pandemonium in the courtroom.

Awais tried to expel the impression that he had met with the Punjab CM. The bench further observed that it seemed that the AGP wanted to face the contempt notice proceedings. However, the bench directed the AGP to submit his written reply by April 5.

In the previous proceedings, the former presidents Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Chaudhary Zulfiqar Ali, Shafqat Chohan, Asghar Ali Gill and others took the rostrum contending the court that they appeared to resolve the matter rather than confrontation, adding the AGP’s contention was not to pass any contemptuous remarks as he was a very humble person and did not even think to disgrace the court.

The judges reacted as former LHCBA president Ch Zulfiqar Ali implored that if there was no relation between the bar and the bench then the things may go worst. Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan said whether LHCBA was posing a threat to the court while Justice Aalia Neelum also reacted against Zolifqar’s comments.

On March 22, the LHC full bench had suspended the operation of an impugned notification of the Punjab government, under which a new JIT had been formed for a fresh probing into the Model Town massacre, till the final decision of the main writ petition.

The bench in its order also mentioned that Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais, along with dozens of law officers appeared in the court and took possession of the rostrum. The AGP had started shouting that the court could not pass any interim order, without giving him the opportunity of hearing. He also declared that he was planning to boycott the proceedings of this court. He was warned by the judged to lower his voice but he and other law officers kept on shouting in the courtroom and tried to pressurise the court so that if any adverse order was going to be announced that may be changed in his favour. The conduct of AGP and other law officers was taken as highly contemptuous.

 

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