ISLAMABAD – Former Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Babar Awan, after exchanging harsh words with the bench on Wednesday during his contempt case hearing decided to contest the case himself.
During the proceeding, Babar Awan cancelling power of attorney of his counsel started arguing the case himself. “One sided proceeding is taking place against me,” “Me and my lawyer are not being given chance to speak therefore now I, myself, will contest the contempt of court case against me.”
The former minister raised serious objections over the proceedings in his contempt matter. He demanded that due process should be followed in his case and court should refrain from passing any judgement, which it disowns in the future.
Onset of the hearing, Syed Ali Zafar, counsel for Babar Awan, informed the court that two applications have been submitted with the court. One regarding the court’s order for production of some documents and the other one requesting the court to acquit Babar Awan as on the basis of evidence, CD of press conference, provided by prosecutor (AG Irfan Qadir) there are chances of ‘successful acquittal of his client.’
Justice Ejaz said this a unique way of contesting the case. At the point Babar Awan came to the rostrum and became emotional and aggressively asked the bench that his media trail was going on and he was being punished because he was a senior counsel of the country. “Why the SC has not summoned other persons present in the press conference and also addressed the media persons,” he said and added: “Why his case was not referred to Pakistan Bar Council.”
Babar Awan also said that he wanted to withdraw power of attorney of his counsel as well as Advocate on Record (AOR) and would defend the case himself. In view of his aggressive style, the court postponed the case proceedings for 15 minutes. Later on, Babar Awan was allowed to argue the case.
Babar Awan said still he was unaware under what procedure the court wanted to proceed in this case. He also said that the court did not hear prosecutor in his case, which was quite surprising, as it was not the court but the prosecutor’s job to level charges against him.
“Access to justice is my fundamental right. I want due process in view of Article 10-A of the constitution and I am innocent till the court does not convict him,” he added.
He also objected the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s chamber order to fix his contempt case after examining the record of press conference. Babar Awan also said that there were two opinions regarding the existence of contempt law in the country.
The former law minister also requested the bench to summon the record of 29 contempt cases, as he would prove that he had not committed contempt of court.
He said that Chief Executive of Pakistan had already told the court that Babar Awan had communicated party’s point of view during the press conference.
The court issued notice to Attorney General for Pakistan on Babar Awan’s plea regarding his acquittal, as there is no evidence against him. The court, however, refrained from issuing notice in his plea regarding production of documents that he mentioned in his second application. Hearing of the case is adjourned till Monday.