Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Wednesday
issued notices to four senior leaders of the ruling PPP,
including two ministers, to explain why contempt proceedings
should not be initiated against them for allegedly making
remarks against the judiciary following an interim order for a
probe into the memo scandal.
A two-judge bench issued the notices to Information
Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, Religious Affairs Minister
Khursheed Shah and former ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira and
Babar Awan in connection with the remarks they had made at a
news conference on December 1.
After the apex court issued an interim order for a probe
into the memo issue, the four PPP leaders addressed a news
conference at which they questioned and criticised the ruling.
Babar Awan was particularly critical of the verdict.
The apex court subsequently sought an explanation from
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who said in a statement
submitted in court that his government had not shown any
disrespect to the judiciary.
The apex court was not satisfied with this explanation
and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry asked the two-judge bench
to look into the matter.
During today`s proceedings, the bench heard arguments by
Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq, who again said the PPP leaders
had not intended to malign the judiciary.
The bench, however, contended that the transcript of the
December 1 news conference showed that the PPP leaders had
made several remarks that were insulting to the judiciary.
The bench issued notices to the four PPP leaders to
explain by January 13 why contempt of court proceedings should
not be launched against them.
The apex court recently formed a commission to
investigate the issue of the secret memo that had sought
American help to stave off a possible military coup in
Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.