Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Contempt case against Aitzaz Ahsan disposed of

Islamabad High Court disposes of Junaid Safdar's plea; terms Aitzaz Ahsan's statement "irresponsible"

PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan speaks during a press conference in this undated photo. — Online/File
PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan speaks during a press conference in this undated photo. — Online/File 

  • Islamabad High Court disposes of Junaid Safdar's plea.
  • IHC terms Aitzaz Ahsan's statement "irresponsible".
  • "This court wouldn’t seek unnecessary clarification from anyone."

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday disposed of a contempt of court petition against PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan for his statement about state institutions.

During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that if Pakistan Bar Council or any other bar did have doubts about this court's impartiality, then why should the court should pay attention to an "irresponsible" statement of any person.

Captain (retired) Mohammad Safdar — the husband of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz — last week filed a contempt of court plea in the IHC against the PPP stalwart for "defaming" his acquittal.

The IHC CJ remarked that the verdicts of this court would eventually decide how much people trust it. "This court wouldn’t seek unnecessary clarification from anyone," he added.

Justice Minallah noted that a number of vlogs and news stories were aired on a daily basis against the IHC court, but it had no effect on the performance of this court.

He noted the contempt of court proceeding was not the solution to this problem.

In response, Capt (retd) Safdar said that the controversial statement was given by a senior lawyer who had been appearing before the courts for 40 years.

Safdar mentioned that the senior PPP leader criticised a decision of this court — and the detailed verdict of the case is still awaited. Ahsan issued a statement against the judiciary and state institutions, he added.

"But yes, we have full trust in the judicial system of the country", Safdar added. He pleaded that if PML-N leaders Tallal Chaudhry and Daniyal Aziz were called to the hearings for contempt of court proceedings, then why shouldn't the same apply to the PPP stalwart.

"Do you want the same decisions from this court as well?" he asked.

The petition

Safdar had Saturday filed a contempt of court plea in the IHC against Ahsan. He made the state, through the Advocate-General for Pakistan, and IHC's registrar as respondents in the contempt of court plea.

The PML-N leader mentioned that Ahsan, through his statement, "defamed" him, and his acquittal had been tainted, while his "esteem, in the eyes of the general public, has been lowered due to baseless allegations".

The petition mentioned that the PPP stalwart's statement also violates Article 2-A of the Constitution of Pakistan. Safdar also demanded that to ensure the public's confidence in the court, it should summon Ahsan and impose penalties on him, including imprisonment.

What did Ahsan say?

The PPP leader last week alleged that the establishment helped the Sharif family clear the cases of corruption against them.

The PPP leader, apart from alleging that the establishment helped the PML-N leaders, said that the cases against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Maryam were open-and-shut and their conviction was evident.

The controversy stirred after the IHC last month acquitted Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield reference, nullifying the conviction handed to them in 2018 by an accountability court.

And two weeks after their acquittal, a special court in Lahore acquitted PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shahbaz in a Rs16 billion money laundering case lodged against them by the Federal Investigation Agency.

PPP, PML-N's reaction

In response, PPP's top leadership distanced itself from Ahsan's recent statement, saying that it was his personal view and does not reflect the party policy.

The News reported that the senior leadership of the PPP has also conveyed its serious reservations to the top party's top brass.

Acting President PPP Central Punjab Zone Rana Farooq Saeed said that Ahsan's statement is against the policy line and demanded his dismissal from the party's central executive committee.

“Many senior leaders of the party have conveyed their reservations on the statement of Ahsan, saying that it was not the first time that he took a stance different to that of the party policy,” elaborated a senior leader of the PPP when contacted by The News.

PPP has also reportedly decided to suspend the basic membership of the party’s stalwart and the former federal minister.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, in a press conference along with other federal ministers, termed Ahsan a "traitor" and said that his "personal frustration" led to the statement.