Monday, May 19, 2014

From theft to scandalization with impunity.

In December 2013 on the occasion of retirement reference of former Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry all the TV channels accused one channel of illegal TV coverage of the reference in collusion of supreme court officials. Now again all other channels are criticizing the same channel for accusing and defaming ISI, its head and military for involvement in the attack on famous TV anchor person Hamid Mir of that channel. In the first case the new chief justice appointed a one man inquiry committee to look in to the matter. However, it is surprising that nothing has been revealed about the findings of that inquiry. There is a general perception that when it comes to lawyers and media the apex court looks the other way if some wrong is done by them. In the present case about accusations against ISI and Head ISI a judicial commission has been appointed and also complaints against the channel have been filed by the ministry of defense and ISI in PEMRA and notice has been issued to the channel. At the same time a joint investigation team including members from ISI and MI has also started working. The inclusion of ISI and MI in JIT looks very odd. The situation is very complicated. At present, the position of PEMRA Chairman is under dispute and is sub judice. It seems that the matter would go the apex court where as discussed earlier a much smaller matter has not been finalized or made public so far. There is no doubt that the government has failed miserably in handling the situation and created a crisis. It is time that the apex court make  public its own inquiry report about illegal TV coverage of ex-CJs retirement reference before the matter pending with PEMRA comes before it for a decision  otherwise its impartiality would come in to question.

Tasneem Hameed

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