Vawda and Kamal seek withdrawal of contempt charges from Supreme Court

Senator Faisal Vawda and Member of the National Assembly Mustafa Kamal have petitioned the Supreme Court to withdraw contempt of court charges issued against them. The charges stem from press conferences held at the National Press Club in Islamabad, where the lawmakers made critical remarks about the judiciary.

Background on contempt charges

On May 17, a three-judge Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa initiated contempt proceedings against Vawda and Kamal. The charges were based on their alleged malicious allegations against the judiciary and its judges.

Vawda’s defense

In his defense, Senator Vawda asserted that his comments were never intended to dishonour the judiciary. He explained that his remarks, including the phrase “pagri uchaalna” (implying causing loss of honour), were meant to address general misconduct in public discourse rather than target specific individuals.

Vawda emphasised that his intention was to discourage unfounded allegations that harm public confidence and the nation’s progress. He argued that his fiery rhetoric is a known aspect of his public persona and should not be misconstrued. Furthermore, Vawda highlighted instances where other public figures made direct threats or derogatory comments about the judiciary without facing similar consequences. He cited remarks by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PTI’s information secretary Raoof Hasan, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as examples where the court showed restraint.

Vawda’s appeal to the court

Vawda’s appeal urged the court to recognise his comments as a plea for unity and understanding, aimed at addressing Pakistan’s challenges collectively. He expressed deep pain over being labelled a “proxy” by a Supreme Court judge despite his sincere efforts for the country’s welfare.

Kamal’s apology

Contrasting Vawda’s approach, MQM-P leader Mustafa Kamal issued an unconditional apology for his statements. Kamal expressed remorse for his actions and sought the Supreme Court’s forgiveness. He emphasised the importance of protecting the judiciary’s sanctity and reputation to ensure fair and equitable justice for all citizens.

Court proceedings and media transcripts

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has submitted transcripts of the press conferences held by Vawda and Kamal, providing detailed accounts of their statements. These transcripts are part of the ongoing proceedings to determine the merit of the contempt charges.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the pleas from Vawda and Kamal will set a precedent for how similar cases might be handled in the future, reflecting the balance between freedom of expression and maintaining judicial integrity in Pakistan.

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