Pakistan: Provincial Court orders media to apologise for airing Khadija’s claims about judge’s bias

Pakistan: Provincial Court orders media to apologise for airing Khadija’s claims about judge’s bias

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday rejected a claim attributed to Khadija Siddiqui — who survived a brutal knife attack at the hands of her fellow student in Lahore two years ago — that she was called into the chambers of a judge for entering into a compromise with her accused attacker, Shah Hussain.

A press release issued by the LHC registrar said “various speculations are being aired in electronic media/social media and published in print media” due to a “news item” regarding the judgement issued by Justice Naeem on Shah Hussain’s appeal against the five-year sentence approved for him.

Through a short order, Justice Naeem had on Monday acquitted Hussain, who was earlier convicted for attempted murder of Khadija, of all charges after accepting his appeal against the sentence handed to him by a sessions court.

The registrar referred to an interview earlier this week in which, according to the statement, Khadija claimed that “she was called upon by the honourable judge in his chambers; whereby she was persuaded to enter into [a] compromise with the petitioner/convict [Hussain] in presence of his father”.

Although the LHC press release does not say exactly which interview is being referred to, while appearing on DawnNewsTV’s show Zara Hat Kay, Khadija was asked to confirm the claim that she was asked by a sessions judge whether she would be open to compromise. Khadija did so, saying the judge — whom she did not name — during the case proceedings had asked her in his chamber whether she would be open to reconciliation with the accused but that she refused the offer.

“She has further speculated that the honourable judge might have been persuaded by the Governor Punjab [Malik Rafiq Rajwana] to pass the judgement of acquittal in favour of the petitioner/convict,” the registrar added.

The LHC registrar said the news items based on Khadija’s claims are “squarely concocted, frivolous and are being aired/published in electronic/social and print media with a malicious attempt to malign the judiciary as an institution”.

“This campaign is not against the honourable judge in isolation rather it is part of the campaign which is being sponsored to malign the judiciary as a whole,” the statement said. The registrar condemned the speculations and warned of legal action “against the delinquent”.

The LHC registrar directed electronic media outlets to air an apology during prime time for airing the “frivolous news item”. The print media, too, was directed to apologise by printing an apology “at front of the newspaper within three days”.

The court registrar directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and Press Council of Pakistan to submit compliance reports with regard to the apology.__Dawn.com

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