ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday reconstituted a bench and to hear the suo motu contempt of court case against former senator Faisal Raza Abidi on October 10.
The court had previously taken suo motu notice of Abidi’s alleged anti-judiciary remarks during a programme.
A new two-judge bench headed by Justice Azmat Saeed will hear the case after the three-member SC bench initially formed to hear the case was dissolved after Abidi gave an application in court asking that the bench hearing his case not include any judges who may have been signatories to a Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).
Earlier, on April 17, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the news channel and also placed a three-month ban on its programme “News @ 8” during which the remarks were reportedly aired.
After hearing the channel’s explanation, the regulatory authority had slapped a three-month ban on the programme and further informed the channel administration that in case of any further violation their licence would be cancelled.
FIA, POLICE BOOK ABIDI:
On September 21, In a different interview given to a web channel, Abidi was booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the capital police for “defaming the Supreme Court and judges”.
The police and FIA will conduct separate investigations, police officials said. The former senator among others were booked under several charges, including the Anti-Terrorism Act.
According to the agency, during the course of his appearance on the show, the accused, with criminal intent and ulterior motives and without any lawful justification, used sarcastic, derogatory, disrespectful and defamatory language against the chief justice which it says was tantamount to creating a sense of fear, panic and insecurity among the government, general public and society.
The case registered against Abidi said the accused is prima facie guilty of offences punishable under sections 10(a), 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016 read with Sections 109 and 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Another case was registered at the Secretariat police station under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) sections 228, 500, 505(ii) and 34 along with the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) in response to a complaint.
The FIR said the video went viral on social media and that the accused could be clearly seen in the video.
It said that the former senator was highly abusive, contemptuous, used threatening language and levelled allegations against government institutions which have been created via the Constitution and also levelled accusations against individuals holding the highest constitutional posts.
The language and words used by Abidi come under the ATA 1997, which are punishable under the ATA and other provisions of the PPC, it said.
On October 1, an anti-terrorism court accepted Abidi’s request for interim bail in the case.