Pakistan’s Supreme Court is initiating contempt proceedings against an Islamabad-based journalist over his alleged derogatory tweet against the court and its judges.
The court has issued notice to journalist Maitullah Jan. The president of the Supreme Court Bar Association has been asked to assist the court in the case.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, will hold the first hearing next week. The two other members of the bench are Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
Referring to one of Jan’s tweet, the court said the journalist reportedly insulted the court and its judges in his July 10 tweet.
In his tweet, the journalist had criticised seven judges of a 10-member bench after they announced their verdict on the petition against the presidential reference against Supreme Court Judge Justice Qazi Faiz Isa.
In the verdict, the seven judges ordered the Federal Bureau of Revenue to probe the properties owned by Justice Isa’s wife and children in the UK.
It is extremely necessary to “completely listen” to the [side] of the journalist, Matiullah Jan was heard saying in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday morning. He added that the court should issue a judgment on the matter.
Soon after the court initiated suo motu action against Jan, #WeStandWithMatiullah started trending on Twitter.
“The man has lost his job and has been attacked many times but never compromised on principles and never stopped stating the truth,” Waseem Abbasi, an Islamabad-based journalist, tweeted.
Nausheen Yousuf, another journalist, said she knew Jan since 2007 and described him as an “honest, credible, professional and selfless journalist”.
This, however, is not the first time that the journalist has gotten into trouble for criticising the judiciary. In 2018, former chief justice Saqib Nisar was about to initiate contempt proceedings against him but no action was taken after the journalists present in court asked for judicial restraint.