Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court Tuesday imposed a three-month ban on a television anchor from hosting his show after he failed to prove his allegations against a man who was convicted for rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Punjab province.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar also directed Shahid Masood, anchor of the news channel TVOne, to submit a written unconditional apology.
Masood in his programme, in January, had said that Imran Ali was a member of a pornography gang including leading politicians.
He had also claimed Ali had 37 foreign accounts and money was transferred to him from abroad.
The CJP suo moto took notice of claim made by Masood in his programme and also he stood by, following which the court ordered an official probe, which in its report said that the allegations were false.
During the hearing, the anchor offered an unconditional apology, saying “sorry from the depths of my heart” for misleading the court.
But Justice Nisar dismissed his verbal apology, saying “I will not forgive you without punishment.”
“I have been hearing about the ‘depths of your heart’ for a while now,” the CJP said and asked the anchor to suggest a punishment for himself or the court will ban him for six months”.
Masood first suggested a ban for one month and then extended it to two months, but the Court announced a three month ban on him from hosting any TV shows, saying that the courts “were not the same as before”.
The CJP also said the anchor could still be charged with the contempt of Court.
The rape and murder of the six-year-old girl triggered a storm in Pakistan but it died down after Ali was arrested and sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court last month.
Ali is currently in jail awaiting a decision on his appeal to the high court against his conviction. PTI