Justice Khawaja refuses to detach himself from Geo’s case

  • SC judge chides PEMRA for turning blind eye to airing of ‘anti-judiciary’ talk show

Showing his resentment against a private news channel for airing a talk show against the judiciary, Supreme Court Justice Jawwad S Khawaja on Thursday refused to dissociate himself from the three-member bench which is hearing Geo TV’s petition.

Talk show host Mubashar Lucman had urged Justice Khawaja to detach himself from the bench for being a close relative of Geo TV owner Mir Shakilur Rehman.

Justice Khawaja also chided the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for turning a blind eye to the airing of the “contemptuous material”.

“For God’s sake, recognise right and wrong,” said the judge.

Geo TV requested the court to issue orders to stop other television channels from what it called propaganda against it. The TV channel also requested the court for the resumption of its transmission on cable networks.

PEMRA official Zahid Malik informed the court that they had forwarded the complaints to the department concerned after monitoring the talk show.

Refusing to disassociate himself from the bench, Justice Khawaja said, “The judge decides to disassociate as per the constitution.”

“We will not let anyone harm the dignity of the Supreme Court,” said the judge, adding that the court and judges would not be pressured by offensive comments.

The court also sought an answer from the federal government and PEMRA in this regard.

Justice Khawaja said that if anyone had reservations regarding the constitution of the bench then they should inform the court. He added the federal government should inform in case there were any reservations against him or any other judge hearing the case.

To which, Additional Attorney General Khawaja Ahmed Hussain said that he had no information.

Geo’s lawyer Akram Sheikh expressed his reservations, saying that he felt harassed while taking up the case.

Geo TV requested the court to issue directives for consolidation of all first information reports (FIRs) that have been registered across the country and to restrain registration of any new case. The petition also urged the court to forward all pending and new FIRs containing blasphemy allegations before the SC for eventual quashing of proceedings on them.

On May 16, PEMRA had served a show-cause notice on Geo TV for airing objectionable content in its morning show ‘Utho Jago Pakistan’.