In contempt: Babar Awan to be indicted on March 20

Supporters chant slogans against the verdict.


Our Correspondent March 08, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was served a second blow by the judiciary, less than a month after the premier was charged with contempt.

A two-member bench of the apex court will indict PPP vice president and former law minister Dr Babar Awan with contempt of court on March 20.

Awan will be indicted for addressing a press conference against an apex court injunction passed on December 1, 2011 over the formation of a judicial commission to probe the Memogate scandal.

The bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Athar Saeed, had reserved the decision over a show-cause notice issued to Awan after hearing preliminary arguments on March 1.

After going through the facts and examining the video, we [believe] the matter should be proceeded with and the case is adjourned for March 20 to frame charges against Babar Awan, the bench’s order stated.

A large number of lawyers attended Thursday’s hearing to show solidarity with Awan.

Reacting to the verdict, the former law minister walked up to the rostrum and recited a Quranic verse, which translated as: “You [Allah] alone we worship, and unto You alone we turn for help.”

Once the verdict was announced, Awan’s supporters chanted slogans and plastered stickers on the Supreme Court building walls, which read: “Allah and [his] Prophet are witnesses that Babar Awan is innocent.”

At the last hearing, video footage of the press conference addressed by Awan and other PPP leaders was played in the courtroom.  Ali Zafar, Awan’s counsel, had argued that in view of the footage, his client had not said anything which ridiculed the judiciary.

Freedom of speech could not be barred in the name of the freedom of judiciary, he had said. Zafar had added that his client, in his statement, had reconfirmed that he has utmost respect and regard for Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and considered him to be a luminary.

In case any hurt is felt by Justice Khosa, Awan had expressed his personal pain and deepest regrets, the counsel had said. Justice Khan had observed that Awan had only expressed regret but not tendered an apology for his remarks.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.

COMMENTS (13)

hasan | 9 years ago | Reply

@rafiq: He is in fact a very poor lawyer and possesses poor advocacy skills - an embarrassment to the Pakistan legal profession.

HoneyBee | 9 years ago | Reply

one way justice.............................!!!!!

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