Apex court judge worried by defamation of institutions

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ISLAMABAD: The allegations being levelled against a judge continued to occupy the Supreme Court’s attention on Tuesday. Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, who has been at the centre of this smear campaign, asked the attorney general to find out just who was trying to attack and damage the reputation of key national institutions like the judiciary. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Khawaja, had taken up the case of 35 prisoners who went missing from a military internment centre in Malakand. However, when Interior Secretary Shahid Khan and the Director General of Intelligence Bureau, Aftab Sultan, appeared before the court, the judge deplored the ‘incendiary’ and ‘defamatory’ campaign that had cropped up virtually overnight in the capital.

“They are incompetent and ignorant (na-ehl and ghafiloon),” Justice Khawaja observed while referring to his detractors in proceedings on a Geo TV petition. Both officials were earlier summoned by the court on Monday and were asked to appear before the same bench again on Wednesday to explain the mystery behind the banners.

The controversy cropped up on Tuesday when Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt submitted a sealed confidential report before the bench in the matter of 35 missing persons, but Justice Khawaja observed that the court would like to deal with the matter later and referred to a television talk show aired on Monday night which contained scurrilous accusations against the judge. In the show, it was alleged that the judge had a personal bias and harboured a grudge against the armed forces.

“If I have a grudge then I should be proceeded against. Otherwise the people of this country should be told the truth,” Justice Khawaja observed, adding that such accusations were creating ill-will against institutions of the state.

“We have already reached the brink and this has become a joke,” the judge observed, wondering who was behind these allegations.

The court also asked the attorney general to read out a transcript of the talk show and observed: “Everybody knows this is a lie”. The court then asked the AG to find out who was sponsoring this campaign against national institutions.