Two witnesses recorded their statements in the contempt of court case against PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz in the Supreme Court on Friday. Multiple video clips of his controversial statements were also played.
The court had taken suo motu notice of “anti-judiciary” speeches made by the PML-N leader last year.
Headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, a three-member bench of the court was hearing the case in which Haji Adam Khan, the director general of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), and Dunya News reporter Sajid Hussain Chaudhry recorded their statements.
Khan informed the court that his role in Pemra was to monitor television programmes and presented parts of multiple video clips wherein Aziz had commented on the judiciary and its decisions. These included a press conference held at the Press Information Department (PID) on September 8, 2017, a clip aired on Neo Television on December 15, 2017 and two others aired on DawnNewsTV on December 9 and 21 in the same year.
The Pemra director informed the court that one of the DawnNewsTV clips was recorded on December 19, 2017 but aired two days later.
After viewing the clips, Justice Saeed commented that the court may have to indict Aziz for other crimes as well.
Aziz’s counsel asked Khan whether he verified the source of the clip, to which the witness responded that it was not his job to do so. “Are you trying to assert that it is not Daniyal Aziz [in the clip] but somebody else?” Justice Saeed asked.
However, Aziz’s counsel remained undeterred and continued his line of questioning and further asked whether the clip could have been edited. Unimpressed, Justice Saeed asked how the witness would be able to answer the question.
The Dunya News reporter then testified regarding his report about Aziz’s September 9, 2017 media talk published in the newspaper. He informed the court that his report was neither changed by an editor nor was it rebutted by Aziz.
A lighter moment was shared in the courtroom when Justice Saeed approved Aziz’s counsel’s request for the entire press conference to be played but only after commenting that he was allowing it despite the conference being boring as the court had no other option.
After the clip was played, Aziz’s lawyer asked the reporter where in the clip had Daniyal said that the monitoring judge had the accountability references [against Sharifs and Dar] prepared. The reporter expressed his inability to verify this, although it was mentioned in the headline of the report.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until April 16.
Following last year’s Panama Papers judgement in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, members of the ruling party, including Aziz — on a number of occasions — had launched unprecedented verbal attacks on the country’s judiciary, accusing it of having different standards for the former prime minister than for his opponents.