Vawda Proclaims Innocence Over Fiery Press Conference

Senator points fingers at PM Shehbaz Sharif, JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PTI's Rauf Hassan for having uttered more offensive words for judges but whose words were not taken notice of

Vawda Proclaims Innocence Over Fiery Press Conference

Senator Faisal Vawda, who was issued a show cause notice for disparaging judges of the superior judiciary, submitted on Tuesday a response to the top court in which he proclaimed innocence over his fiery news conference.

Instead, he pointed fingers at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Rauf Hassan for uttering graver statements against the judiciary.

In his 18-page response, Vawda first explained his actions. He said that he had written to the Supreme Court's Registrar expressing his concerns. Vawda said that while he waited for a response from the top court, which was not forthcoming, he felt compelled to address them through a public press conference.

"The contemner wishes and desires to play a meaningful role in the progressive and positive reform of the judiciary to make it more effective," he wrote.

"The alleged contemnor believes that the major hurdle in any reform programme is the scarcity of public support. That the said public support can only come when people have confidence in the internal people running the judiciary, i.e. the honourable judges."

He claimed that his press conference did not make or level any allegations against any judge or judiciary; rather, he claimed he praised Justice Athar Minallah and that he wanted the name of Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court to be cleared as well.

"The words used in the press conference were simply a desperate Pakistanis plea to everyone, including the general public, the honourable judiciary and all organisations concerned with the wellbeing of Pakistan, to understand the real issues and unite for the betterment of Pakistan where everyone's reputation is safe from unsubstantiated allegations," he stressed.

He defended his press conference, stating he made what he believed was fair criticism of certain judgements.

"The alleged contemner believes that the establishment and judiciary are important pillars of the state and further believes that it is in the country's interest that every pillar undertakes their function, without the other meddling in the function and affairs of others."

Vawda also objected to how he was dubbed a "proxy" by one of the judges.

He defended his use of the words "pagri uchalna" (disparaging and disrespecting people), which were not directed at anyone in particular. Instead, they were used to discourage people from levelling allegations against any individual or organisation without any proof to cause irreparable harm to public confidence in that organisation or individual.

Vawda directed the court's attention to the direct threats and untoward remarks directed towards the judiciary by Rehman, Shehbaz and Rauf Hassan but no notice was taken of their remarks.

"The alleged contemner hopes and prays that his bonafide intentions for the betterment of the country are not read otherwise and the show cause notice under reply is withdrawn," he urged.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain