Leaked video of Malik Riaz interview: SC forms committee
16 June, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Taking suo motu notice of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz's interview on a private TV channel, the Supreme Court's (SC) full court on Friday constituted a two-member committee to examine the matter.
The full court also resolved to summon a comprehensive report from the PEMRA chairman, which would be submitted to the SC registrar who would place the same before the committee consisting of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain. The committee would take up the report for perusal and recommendation for further course of action, if required.
After deliberations, the full court also expressed its faith and determination in maintaining and further strengthening the independence of judiciary so as to ensure the free, fair and impartial dispensation of justice by the court.
The SC full court meeting was held on Friday under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. It was attended by all judges of the SC.
The chief justice said that during the last week there had been several attempts to undermine the judiciary and now it had to be figured out who was behind this activity.
He said the judiciary was being maligned day and night, adding that not even parliament could say anything against the judiciary.
During the meeting, the SC full court considered the note of registrar dated June 15 in respect of 'Malik Riaz Planted Interview with Mehar Bokhari and Mubashir Lukman' on a private TV channel.
Furthermore, behind the scenes footage of the same show has been revealed and is available on YouTube and some other social media under the above-captioned title. The story has also been reported on Friday in several newspapers. The note was duly approved by the chief justice and accordingly the requisite footage of the off-screen conversation was procured, parts of which were shown to the members of the full court.
During the meeting, the chief justice asked certain critical questions from the PEMRA chairman. They included the role of PEMRA in preventing the telecast of contemptuous and scandalous material against the judiciary.
"What action the authority has taken, and what's the media regulatory framework," the chief justice asked the PEMRA chairman.
The PEMRA head told the meeting that channels which are violating the law have been issued notices and action is taken when complaints are received. He added that even licences of such channels are cancelled.
The chief justice also asked the PEMRA chief whether he was aware of what was being broadcast on television channels and if there was any violation in Malik Raiz's interview.
According to the SC registrar's note, "On the face of it, the footage showing conversation behind the seen smells of a planned conspiracy to shake public faith/confidence in the administration of justice and undermine the dignity/prestige of the court, thereby tending to bring the court/judges into hatred, ridicule or contempt. It further tends to prejudice the determination of pending cases before the Supreme Court. It therefore warrants action under Article 204 of the constitution read with Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003."
In the subject footage, off screen conservation between the anchorpersons and Malik Riaz Hussain has been shown, indicating the kind of questions to be asked, anchors taking instructions for uninterrupted replies from the channel administration, asking planted questions, suggesting answers of questions and telephone calls. "From this footage it appears that the whole show was pre-planned in which planted questions were asked and the interviewer coached in giving answers. It is clearly indicative of a pre-planned conspiracy against judiciary to scandalise the court," the report said.