A two-member bench of the apex court came down hard on Thursday on government officials as well as the media for their ‘questionable role’ in the sit-in by a religious group at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange.
The bench also observed that senior representatives of the intelligence agencies must be present in the courtroom. “How did the protesters get teargas shells and sticks?” Justice Mushir Alam asked the advocate general of the Islamabad jurisdiction.
“If you cannot secure the federal capital, how will you secure the country?” he asked, addressing the government.
Why is the Inter-Services Intelligence silent in this matter?” questioned Justice Isa. “The army is not separate from the government and it [military] should not be maligned,” he said.
During the last hearing, the court had rejected reports provided by intelligence agencies, saying they were devoid of depth and that the agencies’ performance was unsatisfactory.
“We are not satisfied with the ISI report,” Justice Isa said on Thursday, asking ISI to submit more details.
‘Media fuelling conflict’
Justice Isa also criticized the media for fanning the conflict. “Is it so easy to say hateful things?” he remarked, questioning the government as to why no action had been taken against the media. “Should we close a few media channels ourselves?” he asked.
It seems to be the media’s job to denigrate people, he said, asking who owned each TV channel and where they got their funding from.
“The ISI report also mentions a channel — should we take its name in open court?” he asked.
“We cannot look away from what is happening,” the bench said, asking, “Should we issue notices to channels? Where is the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra)?”
The judges said that if the media does not agree with the court’s remarks, it could become a party to the case.
“It is our responsibility to hear every party,” one of the justices remarked.
“It is the responsibility of TV channels not to fan violence,” said Justice Isa, warning that the judiciary would keep an eye whether the media “corrects its direction or not”.