ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday grilled former law minister Babar Awan for his remarks regarding the judiciary and issued a show cause notice to him, DawnNews reported.
During a hearing of the Bhutto reference here, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took serious notice of Awan’s comments in the media after the court issued a contempt notice to him and other members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Wednesday.
After deciding to hear the Bhutto reference later, the chief justice asked Awan as to why he ridiculed the notices issued to PPP leaders and said: If you would not respect the state’s institutions, then who would?
Justice Iftikhar said that he was in favour of criticising the judiciary but Awan’s comments were not criticism, adding that Awan was not issued a license to insult the apex court.
Moreover, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja decided to quit the bench after viewing footage of the comments.
He was quoted as saying that he would not forgive Awan even if 10 other judges on the bench would decide to pardon him.
Arrangements were made on the court’s orders for footage and news clips of the remarks given by the former minister.
Moreover, office bearers of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) apologised to the court over Awan’s comments.
The court adjourned the reference’s hearing and directed Awan to submit his response by Jan 9.
During the hearing of the Bhutto reference case on Thursday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took serious notice of former Law Minister Babar Awan’s comments in media after the court issued a contempt notice to him and other members of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The 11-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the Bhutto reference case and issued second show cause notice to Senator Babar Awan over contempt of court. The hearing was adjourned till January 9.
During the hearing, the PPP leader and federation’s lawyer Babar Awan was reprimanded after the video of his Wednesday’s statement ridiculing show cause notices was played in the courtroom.
The court then issued another show cause notice to him and warned of cancelling his licence. He was directed to submit his reply by January 9.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that it was not contempt but insult of judiciary on which Babar Awan replied that he did not insult but praise the court.
President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Yaseen Azad and Vice Chairman of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Lateef Afridi protested over Babar Awan’s reply, however, they asked the court to remain patient.
The chief justice asked the PPP senator to bring his file having details of his licence. He said that no one has the right to ridicule courts and that his behaviour was not appropriate.
It is pertinent to mention that Babar Awan is due to submit reply of an earlier show cause issued to him over December 1 press conference where he ridiculed the judiciary along with other PPP ministers.
The chief justice asked Babar Awan as to why he ridiculed the notices issued to PPP leaders for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the judiciary.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry addressed Babar Awan and said: “If you would not respect the state’s institutions, then who would?”
The chief justice, moreover, said that the court would hear the Bhutto reference later and termed Babar Awan’s comments as more important. “How can things move forward without respect for the judiciary,” he noted.
Babar Awan said, “My conversation has two parts; but, you picked up only the piece of poetry as the subject.”
On this occasion, the bench ordered the court crew to put in place the projector and screen to present to the court the portions of Babar Awan’s talk.
It should be mentioned here that Babar Awan, talking to media persons Wednesday after the hearing of the Bhutto reference case, said it was not the first instance that he was meted out such treatment by the courts.
Babar Awan said when he was fighting the case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, he was presented in the court of Gujranwala Judge Saifullah Buttar as a terrorist to damage BB’s case.
Furthermore, he noted when he became the lawyer of Asif Ali Zardari, two cases of robbery and kidnapping were registered against him to damage the case.
“Now that I am the lawyer in the Bhutto reference, I want to tell the whole nation that I will continue my fight to get justice for the Quaid-e-Awam,” he added.