ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday indicted televangelist and MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain for committing contempt of court on a television programme.
Hussain pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“I seek an unconditional apology and leave myself at the mercy of the court,” he said during the hearing.
“I have also apologised before,” he added.
“We had set today as the date for indictment and the time for apologies has passed,” remarked Justice Ijazul Ahsan in response, as the apex court rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker’s unconditional apology and indicted him under Article 204 of the Constitution.
According to the charges against Hussain, he had on March 9, 2017 violated an order of the court dated March 3, 2017.
The court stated in the charge sheet that the MNA’s conduct, based on excerpts from his TV programme and his statement, was tantamount to disobeying, disregarding and flouting the orders of the court. He was also charge-sheeted for obstructing, interfering and prejudicing the process of law.
The court, referring to a statement made by Hussain, said it “tends to disrespect and ridicule this court, and thereby, you obstructed, interfered and prejudiced the process of law and due course of proceedings of this court. You, therefore, are guilty of committing contempt of the Supreme Court of Pakistan within the meaning of Article 204 of the Constitution […] read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, punishable under section 5 of the said Ordinance.”
The court directed the PTI leader to present witnesses ─ if any ─ in his favour, in the next hearing to be held on Nov 29.
In August, the SC had slapped on Hussain a contempt of court charge while taking up petitions filed by anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada, Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Mir Ibrahimur Rehman and Najam Aziz Sethi accusing Hussain of flouting a March 28, 2017 restraining order in which he was cautioned to desist from defamatory campaigns and unethical manner of conducting television shows.
Issuing a contempt notice to Hussain, CJP Nisar had questioned whether someone who is not aware of what to say on a public forum should be a parliamentarian.
On October 30, the apex court had refused an apology rendered by Hussain’s lawyer in the contempt case.