Lahore - Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Thursday appeared before a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court in a contempt of court case filed against the Advocate General (AG) of Punjab.

A notice had been issued to AG Ahmad Awais on his apparently contemptuous conduct during the announcement of an order about the joint investigation team formed to investigate the 2014 Model Town massacre.

The bench had asked the government’s representative to submit a written reply that why contempt of court proceeding should not be initiated against him.

Yesterday, the bench summoned the chief minister over the AG’s conduct and asked him if he knew why he had been summoned. The CM told the bench that Ahmad Awais had stepped down as Punjab AG.

Justice Muhammad Qasim observed that AGP is a highly respectable office but an unfortunate incident had occurred.

Justice Shahzad Ahmed observed that one of the biggest law officers in the province was now standing like a suspect. He added that he should be talking about the supremacy of law.

Representing Ahmad Awais, Hamid Khan advocate argued that during a proceeding the raising of voice by someone in flow of speech that often occurs naturally should be ignored by the court.

However, Justice Qasim Khan said, “What if someone begins cursing [the judges]?”

After hearing the arguments, the bench reserved the verdict which will be announced on April 19.

What did the AG do and why?

Under a Supreme Court decision, Punjab government had formed a new Joint Investigation team to investigate the Model Town killings case.

Two Model Town case accused, Inspector Rizwan and constable Khurram Rafique, filed a petition in the LHC claiming that the apex court had not specifically ordered formation of a new JIT.

After hearing their pleas on March 22, the three-member LHC bench restrained the new JIT from working.

The judgment of JIT suspension was reserved by the court in the absence of the Advocate General of Punjab however the verdict was announced in his presence.

Expressing his annoyance, the AG said he had not been notified ahead of the hearing and the Punjab government was denied the chance of being heard on the issue before the announcement of the decision.

This led to exchange of heated words between the AG and the judges.

In his written reply to the notice issued by the angered judges, the former AG stated that whatever happened in the courtroom wasn’t contempt of court as he always respected the institution of judiciary.