Nadeem Ahmed advocate filed the petition under Article 199 of the Constitution through Akram Sheikh, making party information secretary, Pemra chairman as well as IGPs of Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan and Islamabad. He said, “Since last week, a new round of rumours of fresh attack against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry through another live press conference has unleashed, and this time, the attack will leave the chief justice with no choice except to resign.”
The two senior most journalists of the country have predicted live that that “a lot more is going to be unleashed against the chief justice within days”. Nadeem said: “If any national news broadcaster that shows any such interview or press conference in which defamatory statements or allegations are levelled against any member of the superior judiciary then its licence be suspended forthwith.”
He appealed to the court to direct the information secretary to refrain the media from publishing contents of any such press conference or interview. The court also direct the IGPs to forthwith register cases under Section 499 of Pakistan Penal Code against any person who, instead of following the prescribed mechanism laid down in the Constitution, commits the offence of defamation against the chief justice or any other member of superior judiciary.
The Section 499 defines the offence of defamation and Section 500 provides for two year imprisonment for any person who is found guilty of the offence of defamation. Declare that all the judges are subject to law under Article 5 of the Constitution and are fully accountable, albeit through the mode and mechanism that has been laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan and within the legal system of Pakistan; there is no room for judicial accountability by way of defamation through live press conferences. Through Section 20 of Pemra Ordinance 2002, Parliament has also made it illegal for licensed broadcasters to show any content that may be defamatory to any ordinary person in Pakistan. Pemra’s illegal omission means that it is treating the person of Chief Justice of Pakistan as less deserving of protection from defamation than even an ordinary person.
A few months ago at a press conference, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz hurled the allegations of bribing the son of chief justice staggeringly and the entire media covered it live in violation of Section 20 of Pemra Ordinance 2002 but the chairman Pemra neither stopped the live coverage nor took action against any TV channel.