Culture & Arts Original Articles

Iftikhar Chaudhry and GEO Network: A Love Story – by Jahanzaib Masood

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While people give examples of Romeo & Juliet, Raam Leela and Laila Majnoon as examples of selfless

love, we get a mind-boggling and eye raising example of such devotion between the soon-to-be-retired

Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and GEO Network, the undoubtedly

most controversial media group of the country. Such is the extent of this undying affection for each

other that the media coverage of Full Court Reference event was allowed to be covered by only one

media group, Geo Network. All other channels among the Government-owned Pakistan Television PTV

was not allowed to cover the entire event among all other private channels with the exception of CJP’s

favorite, GEO News.

The ‘prem katha’ between GEO Network and Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry is not actually a hidden

one. Both the parties have given proofs of their “utter devotion” being above any law or ethical dilemma

on various occasions. Whether it is running a full-fledged media campaign for the restoration of Justice

Iftikhar Chaudhry against then-ruling government or trying to pivot the angle of the story when CJP’s

son, Arsalan Iftikhar was found involved in a mega corruption scandal. GEO Network has always been

eager to prove its loyalty to retired chief justice through potraying overly-positive news reports and

forged public reviews about judiciary in their shows every now and then. Now at his departure, while

the countrymen is celebrating “Youm-e-Nijaat” (The Day of Relief) on CJP’s retirement, Geo/Jang group

regards their beloved’s tenure “a shining performance” and commend him by saying “Well played” – like

being the supreme position holder of judiciary of the country is merely a silly game for them.

Here, Chief Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry’s role should not be belittled, who has more than

reciprocated every favor given to him by Geo News, Mir Shakil ur Rahman and Mir Ibrahim Rahman.

Whether it is turning a blind eye to all the evidence against GEO Network and the Mirs, including:

a) Tax Defaults of more than Rupees 731 Million

b) Foreign Funding received of more than £4.6 million

c) airing foreign content 400% in Excess of permitted limit by PEMRA Laws on Geo Kahani as well

as Geo Entertainment despite warning served to GEO Network

The Retd. Chief (in)Justice not only turned a deaf ear to much talked-about Media Commission Report,

in which the findings and warnings made by PEMRA against GEO Network putting its editorial board

on sale for the price of foreign funding; but also “reprimanded” PEMRA for daring to make such

“allegations” against beloved GEO Network. Today, once again the honorable Chief Justice (Retd.)

Iftikhar Chaudhry has given the final ode to this wretched love story by giving the airing rights of him

bidding farewell to his seat only to GEO Network while showing discrimination to all other media

networks. This incident agonized the officials and advocates of free & unbiased media all over Pakistan.

Reacting on the incident, Justice (Retd) Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui also said that Supreme Court staff does

not have prerogative to provide footage to only one channel. He reminded that under Article 25 of the

Constitution every citizen enjoys equal rights. But has Iftikhar Chaudhry backed out from “public display

of affection” with GEO Network ever for upholding the sanctity of law? Never!

Hence, this love between Justice Chaudhry and GEO Network conquers all – yet the questions raised

on sanctity and supremeness of law and judiciary due to the discrimination and biasness as well as the

pleas of PEMRA, media & public alike against the violations of media ethics by Geo Network. The silver

lining in today’s event is that this hopefully is the last favor made by the Ex-CJP for GEO Network. One

can hope and pray that the new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Tasadduq Hussain Sadiq would prove to be a

true judge of right and wrong and address the issues deliberately neglected by his predecessor.

While people give examples of Romeo & Juliet, Raam Leela and Laila Majnoon as examples of selfless

love, we get a mind-boggling and eye raising example of such devotion between the soon-to-be-retired

Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and GEO Network, the undoubtedly

most controversial media group of the country. Such is the extent of this undying affection for each

other that the media coverage of Full Court Reference event was allowed to be covered by only one

media group, Geo Network. All other channels among the Government-owned Pakistan Television PTV

was not allowed to cover the entire event among all other private channels with the exception of CJP’s

favorite, GEO News.

The ‘prem katha’ between GEO Network and Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry is not actually a hidden

one. Both the parties have given proofs of their “utter devotion” being above any law or ethical dilemma

on various occasions. Whether it is running a full-fledged media campaign for the restoration of Justice

Iftikhar Chaudhry against then-ruling government or trying to pivot the angle of the story when CJP’s

son, Arsalan Iftikhar was found involved in a mega corruption scandal. GEO Network has always been

eager to prove its loyalty to retired chief justice through potraying overly-positive news reports and

forged public reviews about judiciary in their shows every now and then. Now at his departure, while

the countrymen is celebrating “Youm-e-Nijaat” (The Day of Relief) on CJP’s retirement, Geo/Jang group

regards their beloved’s tenure “a shining performance” and commend him by saying “Well played” – like

being the supreme position holder of judiciary of the country is merely a silly game for them.

Here, Chief Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry’s role should not be belittled, who has more than

reciprocated every favor given to him by Geo News, Mir Shakil ur Rahman and Mir Ibrahim Rahman.

Whether it is turning a blind eye to all the evidence against GEO Network and the Mirs, including:

a) Tax Defaults of more than Rupees 731 Million

b) Foreign Funding received of more than £4.6 million

c) airing foreign content 400% in Excess of permitted limit by PEMRA Laws on Geo Kahani as well

as Geo Entertainment despite warning served to GEO Network

The Retd. Chief (in)Justice not only turned a deaf ear to much talked-about Media Commission Report,

in which the findings and warnings made by PEMRA against GEO Network putting its editorial board

on sale for the price of foreign funding; but also “reprimanded” PEMRA for daring to make such

“allegations” against beloved GEO Network. Today, once again the honorable Chief Justice (Retd.)

Iftikhar Chaudhry has given the final ode to this wretched love story by giving the airing rights of him

bidding farewell to his seat only to GEO Network while showing discrimination to all other media

networks. This incident agonized the officials and advocates of free & unbiased media all over Pakistan.

Reacting on the incident, Justice (Retd) Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui also said that Supreme Court staff does

not have prerogative to provide footage to only one channel. He reminded that under Article 25 of the

Constitution every citizen enjoys equal rights. But has Iftikhar Chaudhry backed out from “public display

of affection” with GEO Network ever for upholding the sanctity of law? Never!