–IHC CJ Athar Minallah says it’s ‘huge crime’ to level allegations in a subjudice matter
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan to submit a written response as she appeared before the bench to offer an “unconditional apology” following a contempt notice.
The occasion marked her second court appearance, following her remarks regarding an on-going case, in less than a week.
On Oct 30, the IHC issued a notice to Firdous under Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.
According to the notification, she maligned the court while giving a statement that the hearing of a petition on the release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday evening was “a special dispensation”.
While the court on Nov 1 accepted her unconditional apology, it issued Firdous another show-cause notice for prejudicing the pending proceedings related to the petition seeking suspension of Nawaz Sharif’s sentence.
During the hearing on Tuesday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that it was a “huge crime to level allegations in a subjudice matter”.
“This court will not favor anyone. Action will be taken in accordance with the law,” the judge said.
He told Firdous that in 2014, incumbent President Arif Alvi had filed a petition in the IHC on a holiday against the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) workers.
“The court issued its orders on a holiday. The court had barred [authorities] from arresting [PTI] workers,” Justice Minallah said and recalled that “a lot was said about [IHC] in 2014 as well”.
“Every judge takes an oath with God as a witness,” the high court chief justice said. “No matter how big a criminal, he has the right to a fair trial.”
The judge further said that a “court is respected due to its verdicts”.
Firdous offered the court an unconditional apology, saying, “I never talked about the judiciary in my 20-year career.”
The court asked if she had submitted a written reply, to which her counsel responded in the negative. Justice Minallah directed the SAPM to submit a written response within a week and adjourned the hearing until Monday.
Awan’s lawyer asked the court to exempt her from appearing before the court in person, but the judge turned down the request saying: “Her appearance here carries more advantage.”