PAKISTAN: Arrest warrants issued against chief editor, two others

Journalists charged with defamation for publishing derogatory remarks against lawyers

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rawalpindi --- Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Chaudhry Imtiaz here on Wednesday issued warrants for the arrests of three journalists for writing and publishing derogatory remarks against lawyers and their ongoing movement in favour of the chief justice.

The judge directed the police to arrest and produce Khalil Malik, chief editor Shura; Sajawal Khan, editor and Sehr Siddique, associate editor, in the court on July 14 in a defamation case.

Rafaqat Bashir Awan, a high court advocate on June 5, filed a criminal complaint against Mr Malik with the sessions judge who then referred it to ADSJ Chaudhry Imtiaz.

The judge, after recording the statement of the complainant on June 5, heard the two witnesses who said they read the derogatory piece of writing. On June 11 the judge served notices on the writer and summoned him to the court.

The judge on Wednesday issued their arrest warrants when they did not turn up in the court despite the summons.

According to the complainant, Khalil Malik, in his column titled ‘Wookla ki tehrik ka battin’ published in Daily Shura on June 4, used scandalous and insulting language against the lawyers and defamed the whole legal fraternity.

The complainant said Mr Malik not only defamed the lawyers’ community as a whole but also tried to create a rift between its members.

Mr Awan, in his complaint, said the act of the columnist not only created mental agony for him but also defamed the lawyers before the masses.

He has also made Sajawal Khan, editor Daily Shura, and Sehr Siddique, associate editor, the respondents.

Khalil Malik in his writing described the movement of the lawyers undemocratic and said they could not tolerate criticism.