LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday rejected a petition filed by actress and model Sophia Mirza to ban media appearances of her ex-husband and businessman, Liberia’s Ambassador-at-Large Umar Farooq Zahoor.
Sophia Mirza had moved the LHC for asking the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to issue directions to TV channels to place a ban on Umar Farooq Zahoor.
It is pertinent to mention that the couple divorced over 14 years ago and since then they have been engaged in a legal war for the custody of their 14-year-old twins named Zainab Umar and Zuneirah Umar while both are living with their father in Dubai.
Sophia approached the court, after her ex-husband, and both daughters appeared on Pakistani media numerous times to deny accusations of kidnapping and suppression made by her.
During the hearing, Sophia’s lawyer Adnan Faiz Kalar told the LHC in her plea that “PEMRA has been airing false news” and shall be stopped from doing so.”
“Major news channels are airing malicious content about Mirza and same should be stopped and a notice should be issued to PEMRA,” Adnan asked the court.
Upon this, the LHC Justice Shahid Jamil told the petitioner and lawyer that they need to quote the exact provision of the law under which the violation took place and what was false in the news.
Adnan Faiz told the judge that petitioner Sophia had approached the FIA under PECA but the FIA didn’t entertain the application. At this point, Mirza intervened and told the court that it was a matter of custody of the daughters.
“Either she should speak herself or let her counsel represent her case before the court,” the judge remarked.
Mirza’s lawyer asked the court again that a notice should be issued and that the YouTube links have been provided in the petition.
“This was not the job of PEMRA to stop such broadcasts,” the judge told the lawyer.
“You have to tell me what the law is and which provision of law has been violated. Establish your case first. We cannot issue directions in every case,” he further remarked.
The lawyer sought more time, but Justice Khan expressed his displeasure on wasting the court’s time and asked him to come prepared on the next date of hearing.
The order by the judge stated that the counsel seeks time to further prepare the brief.
Meanwhile, Assistant Attorney-General (AAG) Syed Sajjad Haider Rizvi apprised the court that under PEMRA Council of Complaints Rules 2010, a complaint can be filed before PEMRA.
Upon the inquiry of the judge, model and actress failed to show any such complaint filed before PEMRA.
Sophia had written in her petition that “Umar Farooq Zahoor is a fugitive of law and should not appear in the media but the AAG apprised the court that Umar Farooq has not even been impleaded as a party in the case.
While Sophia’s lawyer also failed to satisfy the court on the point that even if it is to be believed that Farooq is a fugitive of the law, under what law can PEMRA be asked to stop airing his interview.
The LHC judge Shahid Jamil asked Adnan Faiz to come fully prepared for the next hearing.
It is also merit to mention here that Sophia Mirza has made allegations against her ex-husband of fraud and corruption, but the businessman has not been charged or convicted of any wrongdoing in any jurisdiction in the world.