| Justice Athar Minallah denies vloggers’ claims he held ‘some meetings’.

ISLAMABAD    -   Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday remarked that the criticism on this court was its strength but no one could either influence or approach it.  He gave these remarks during hearing on the petition of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) against alleged harassment of journalists.

The chief justice said that whatever one wanted to say he could as this court had given freedom to speak. He said this morning the registrar told him regarding the journalists’ vlogs in which they claimed that I had been some meetings. The journalists were telling me about my meetings which even I didn’t.

Justice Athar Minallah said that if there were any such thing then come forward and tell me. Keep saying whatever you want to, this had been the strength of this court for 3 years, he added. He said that what I didn’t know, if they know, then it was a matter of happiness. The chief justice said that the court was not worrying of anything and asked did you think it was a freedom of expression? I repeat this was the accountability of this court, he said. This court has neither allowed anyone to approach it nor had contact with anyone. Justice Minallah said that everyone was becoming part of the campaigns but had no impact on the court, with the passage of time the truth would come out on its own.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that journalists should ask themselves whether what they were doing were correct. If the journalists knew anything, let me know as well, the court was known by its decisions, he said. He said that narratives continue to be built but the court would do what it has been doing. Ask yourself in which direction we were taking the country, should journalists do such work, he questioned.

The chief justice further said that look at what had been happening since 2018, this court would never stop you, keep saying whatever you want to, even if you were saying something wrong.  Lawyer PFUJ Shah Khawar Advocate said that cases were registered against journalists in Karachi and Islamabad. The Chief Justice said that till date we were not able to even restore the constitution completely, if it was restored in this country, everything would be fine. President PFUJ Afzal Butt said the court had given a decision that FIA and PFUJ should look into the matter regarding the cases against journalists, adding that journalists were being picked up and suppressed. The exercise should be stopped, he concluded.