Asad Umar to assist IHC in examining anti-judiciary campaign by PTI MNA Kanwal Shauzab

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Zubair Qrueshi

The Islamabad High Court while taking notice of the anti-judiciary campaign launched by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member National Assembly Kanwal Shauzab on social media and appointed Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar who is also Secretary General of the PTI to assist the court and examine the anti-judiciary rhetoric.

Asad Umar will also assist the court in the Federal Investigation Agency’s action regarding the registration of a First Information Report against Ms Shauzab’s neighbours under the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act .

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up the case pertaining to the registration of the FIR and observed that notices could not be served to the federal government since the petitioner did not deposit the mandatory processing fee.

Deputy Attorney General Syed Mohammad Tayyab told the court that he would get them delivered by hand and sought two week time to submit a written response in this matter.

Justice Minallah remarked that despite the fact that the IHC had issued an order that went in her favour, she started a campaign against the judiciary.

Mohammad Azhar Siddique, counsel for Ms Shauzab suggested that the court would declare the proceeding as in-camera and would prohibit its coverage in mainstream and social media.

Justice Minallah did not agree with this suggestion calling it “unreasonable” for an elected representative to distort facts related to a sub judice matter.

He pointed out that the MNA lodged a complaint against her over 70-year-old neighbour and the FIA picked up this complaint out of over 95,000 pending applications.

It may be mentioned here that the lawmaker registered an FIR under Peca with the FIA as her neighbours uploaded a video on social media about environmental degradation in the area and they challenged the said FIR before the IHC.

“Was it justified that the lawmaker started a campaign against the court,” Justice Minallah remarked.

After last week’s hearing, the lawmaker not only severely criticised the IHC chief justice on social media but also used derogatory words against him.

Mr Siddique, on the other hand, termed this a fit case to regulate social media, saying that the Lahore High Court (LHC) had already ruled that civil and criminal defamation could be prosecuted separately.

Justice Minallah remarked that if the MNA had some genuine complaint against the court, the court would be ready to address her grievances; however, it would be done in the presence of her party Secretary General and Federal Minister Asad Umar and adjourned the hearing for a fortnight.

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