Contempt of court: SC issues show-cause notices to Faisal Vawda, Mustafa Kamal

Both the leaders have been asked by the top court to appear before the bench at the next hearing

By
Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
Independent Senator Faisal Vawda and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P) leader Mustafa Kamal. — YouTube/ Screengrab/PTV News Live
  • SC summons Faisal Vawda, Mustafa Kamal in next hearing. 
  • Three-member bench, led by CJP Isa, conducts hearing. 
  • Notices issued during suo motu hearing against Faisal Vawda.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday issued show-cause notices to independent Senator Faisal Vawda and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P) leader Mustafa Kamal over their press conferences against Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges.

Both the leaders have been asked by the top court to appear before the bench at the next hearing.

A three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, conducted the hearing.

The notices were issued when the top court conducted the hearing on the suo motu notice taken against Vawda's press conference in which he blasted the IHC judges over their letter alleging meddling by spy agencies in judicial affairs and Justice Babar Sattar’s citizenship.

“Stop targeting the institutions, enough is enough. If there is any interference by institutions, then provide evidence and we will stand together [against it],” the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader had said during the presser.

A day after Vawda's presser, Kamal also addressed a presser wherein he demanded the implementation of dual citizenship law in all the institutions. 

“IHC says there is no restriction in the Constitution a dual citizen cannot become a judge," said Kamal, pointing out that "a member of the assembly having dual nationality is sent to home". 

Vawda's news conference came after he had filed a request in the IHC registrar calling for disclosure of the correspondence between then-IHC chief justice Athar Minallah and IHC's Justice Babar Sattar about the latter's green card.

The senator's letter referred to the social media campaign against Justice Sattar accusing him of holding a US nationality and having a business interest in a private school in the country.

In response to the smear campaign, the IHC’s public relations officer in the statement had said: “Justice Babar Sattar has never had any nationality other than that of Pakistan. He studied law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and pursued graduate education at Harvard Law School. He worked as a lawyer with a law firm in New York and while living and working in the US, was issued the Permanent Resident Card (also called green card) after being regarded as a person of extraordinary ability. He left his job in the US in 2005 and returned to Pakistan and has lived and worked in Pakistan since then."

The apex court's suo motu came the same day IHC responded to Senator Vawda's letter saying: "The information sought by the high court from lawyers being considered for elevation/appointment as judge does not include information regarding residency and/or citizenship of any country other than Pakistan."

The IHC registrar wrote the letter to Vawda, on behalf of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, maintaining that such residency/citizenship is not a disqualification for a judge under the country's Constitution.

Hearing

During the hearing today, Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Aamir Rehman appeared before the bench.

As the hearing began, CJP Isa asked AAG if he had watched the press conference and if it was derogatory.

To this, AAG Rehman said that there were muted words in the press conference that he heard.

The CJP then remarked that if someone has done something bad then names should be taken, adding that the targeting of an institution will not be allowed.

"Institutions belong to the people and defaming them is not a service to the country," remarked the CJP.

He then asked the lawyer to read the constitution and law on freedom of expression and contempt of court.

CJP Isa said that it seems like the press conference was done for a specific purpose. "No one will be allowed to harm the institutions," he added.

He said that Mustafa Kamal also held a press conference after Vawda, adding that they should have spoken in the House as they are members of parliament.

The Supreme Court then issued notices to both politicians, summoning them before the bench. It also sought the video recording and transcript of the press conferences.

"Pemra should also present the details of the questions asked in the press conferences and their answers," the court ordered.

The top court then adjourned the hearing till June 5.