Current Affairs

IHC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Over Social Media Attacks on Judges

Islamabad: Two larger benches of the Islamabad High Court initiated contempt proceedings in the matter of a malicious campaign on social media against Senior Puisne Judge Moshin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Babar Sattar on Tuesday.

Larger benches comprising three judges on each bench started the proceedings around the same time in courtroom number 1 of Chief Justice, Amer Farooq, and Courtroom no 2 of Justice Moshin Akhtar Kiyani.

Chief Justice Amer Farooq, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, and Justice Arbab M. Tahir presided over the hearing of contempt proceedings for malicious campaign against Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani on social media. The court issued notices to the Former Secretary of Islamabad High Court Bar, Waqas Malik, and two journalists Matiullah Jan and Syed Talat Hussain.

It has been alleged that Waqas Malik has tried to scandalize the judiciary by giving an interview to Journalist Matiullah Jan on social media and another interview with Talat Hussain on electronic media. Waqas Malik had filed a reference against Justice Moshin Akhtar Kiyani in the Supreme Judicial Council.

Senior Journalist Hamid Mir, President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Advocate Ahmed Hassan, and Advocate Ahmed Bilal Sufi are appointed as Judicial Assistants of the court for the proceedings.

PEMRA has also been sent notice and ordered to submit a transcript of the interview in the next hearing. The hearing has been adjourned for two weeks.

The Other Hearing

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Jahangiri, and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan presided over the larger bench in contempt proceedings for running a malicious campaign on social media against Justice Babar Sattar.

When the hearing began Justice Kiyani asked Assistant Attorney General, Malik Shokat Nawaz Awan to come up to the rostrum and told him that you needed to send the preposition for the start of contempt proceedings for a malicious campaign against a judge. Justice Kiyani further added that the cognizance has been unanimously taken by all the judges that it’s a matter of contempt proceeding.

Justice Kiyani remarked that documents have been placed on social media by some X (formerly Twitter) accounts and privileged information of a sitting High Court Judge who shouldn’t be with someone else has been made public which is the most dangerous part. He further remarked that the information shared on social media could only be shared by the institutions or it seems like their system was hacked and information was stolen from there. He said it’s no rocket science how data comes out in public.

Justice Kiyani remarked that these proceedings are initiated to determine whether it’s social media or electronic media who have run the malicious campaign. The pressure was put on the judge so he recused himself from hearing the case. Tax records were shared along with the accounts, and institutes had to determine how they take this issue, it’s easy to blame everything on 5th-generation warfare but why judges are always the target of 5th-generation warfare, he asked. We will need expert technical reports from the institutions and they’ll also have to assist us so that no individual or institution in the future dares to target a judge. Contempt proceedings in this case will go to the highest office.

Justice Kiyani ordered to issuing of notices to DG FIA, CTD, IB, ISI, PTA, PEMRA, Secretary, Ministry of Defense, Secretary, Immigration and Passports. They have to demonstrate to us what actions are taken against the perpetrators. Complete freedom to perpetrators can’t be given if action is not taken all of these institutions will go home.

Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahingiri remarked that actual culprits who have leaked information about the judge’s kids and wife need to be caught. There will be serious consequences for whoever has retweeted/reposted the malicious tweets and did programs on electronic media.

Justice Kiyani remarked that this is not the job of the judiciary, parliament, or the president’s house. Institutions have to determine and apprehend the culprits, if they can’t do that it’s their negligence. Secretary Immiggration and Passports also have to tell us how the travel documents of judge’s family have been leaked from them or who has taken information from them, if they won’t tell us they’ll be held responsible.

Court Order

The detailed Court Order which was released late at night stated that we’re inclined to issue notices to the Attorney General’s office, Advocate General Islamabad, Sec. Ministry of Defense, Head of Cybercrime wing of FIA, Heads of information technology-5G warfare wings of Inter-services Intelligence, The Intelligence Bureau, The Military Intelligence and Counterterrorism Department of Police, Chairman PTA, Chairman PEMRA, DG Passports, DG Immigration (FIA), and Chairman FBR.

Individual data scrapping of Hashtags “WillBabarSattarAnswer” “ForeignMunsifNamanzoor” and the account of “Pakistan Lawyers Forum” was also ordered by the bench.

The case has been adjourned till May 23rd.

Ali Hamza

Ali Hamza is an Islamabad-based journalist with a keen focus on courts, politics, and missing person cases. Known for his in-depth reporting, Ali has established himself as a credible voice in the field of journalism. Follow him on Twitter @alihamzaisb
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