- Court accepts apology submitted by ex-interior minister, warns him against passing ‘anti-judiciary’ remarks in future
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday discharged a contempt of court notice issued to former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal over an anti-judiciary speech made in April this year.
The court announced its decision after accepting the apology tendered by the minister, who stated that he had complete regard for the courts and always bowed down before the law.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Akbar Naqvi, accepted the apology submitted by Iqbal in court and also ordered the former interior minister to refrain from passing anti-judiciary statements in future. “You are an educated and a wise man. You should act as a role model. Who will we look up to if you also opt for rage and revenge?” the bench asked Iqbal.
“Do not consider the present rulers as your enemy. Contribute your share for the country’s betterment. This is the time for development,” the bench remarked.
Justice Masood Jahangir observed that the respondent (Iqbal) was no longer a part of the government to which Justice Atir Mehmood added: “A new government is in power now [but] things can’t change overnight.”
Justice Naqvi observed that Iqbal’s conduct during the proceedings of the case had been decent.
Justice Naqvi rhetorically questioned where those people were today who had resorted to verbal abuse.
Expressing his gratitude for the court, Iqbal said he will be “more circumspect” with his words in the future.
While addressing the media after the hearing, Iqbal said, “I genuinely feel that if our institutions will not work with cooperation and coordination, if there will be conflict among institutions then the country will not be able to function properly.”
“The judiciary is a key pillar of any state. It is an important pillar of our constitution. Judiciary gives people a hope for justice. So, if the judiciary is weakened or demeaned, then the people will have to suffer. Therefore, we respect the judiciary and its supremacy.”
In July, Iqbal tendered an unconditional apology in the LHC during the hearing of a contempt case lodged against the PML-N leader. “Your detailed answer does not contain the words required for an apology,” remarked Justice Naqvi as he addressed Iqbal.
“I respect the judiciary. I apologise to the court unconditionally,” the former minister had replied.
A petition against the former minister was filed in the LHC after he made a speech in a seminar where he had criticised Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for allegedly levelling baseless allegations against him, saying that the latter had “no right to name-call people”.
Iqbal was then referring to remarks made by Justice Nisar during a case in which the vice-chancellor of Lahore College for Women University, Prof Uzma Qureshi, was suspended. During the hearing, the chief justice had said that he knew Iqbal’s role in Qureshi’s appointment.
“You [Justice Nisar] must issue me a charge sheet. If you have evidence, produce it before me. But enough is enough,” Iqbal had challenged at the time.