The political and legal circles are deeply confused and worried about the latest PPP government spin on a baseless report about a meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The government statement was made by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, despite the fact that not only the newspaper which had first published the meeting story, apologised and fully retracted its report but the Punjab government also denied it totally.

Yet Mr Kaira attacked the Chief Justice, which immediately resulted in a sharp and strong rejoinder by the Supreme Court spokesman who said those trying to politicise this baseless issue would be taken to task.

Analysts and observers are trying to figure out what the motive of Information Minister Kaira was to ignore the total apology, denials and retraction of the said report full 24 hours before he made the comments on the imaginary meeting.

Talking to the media outside the Parliament building, Kaira had stated that the CJP should himself take notice of his meeting with the Punjab chief minister. Either totally ignorant of the denials or deliberately raising the issue, Kaira persisted with his comments as if he believed that Shahbaz Sharif did meet CJ Chaudhry.

Immaturely behaving like a street boy instead of a federal minister, he added that the detailed judgment on the NRO was still awaited that the news of Chief Justice’s meeting with Shahbaz Sharif had appeared, while no clarification has been made in this regard.

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Supreme Court’s spokesman immediately reacted with a strongly worded denial terming Kaira’s outburst needless and warning that strict action would be taken against those who were debating and making statements on a baseless report.

The spokesman said that English daily The Nation had not only offered apology but also published a clarification in this regard. The paper also asked its reporter to give explanation on the issue, the statement said. The spokesman further said that some elements were debating this report to achieve their vested interests.

“The report is baseless and uncalled for and is an attempt to affect the reputation of the institution,” it said, adding, “Those issuing any statement in this regard will have to face serious consequences.”The spokesman said that if anyone had any authentic information about the meeting, he could present to the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

When The News correspondent Ahmad Noorani talked to Kaira late in the evening to get his views over what he had said early in the day, the information minister was not willing to offer any comments or offer an apology.

Kaira was repeatedly told about the front-page apology of the newspaper as well as the Punjab government categorical denial but still he said that he did not want to discuss the issue.

Analysts were left with the feelings that Kaira’s utterances were part of the post-NRO government campaign against the superior judiciary and the Chief Justice of Pakistan. This impression was strengthened when some mediapersons were also encouraged to file speculative stories on the conjectured meeting between the CJP and the Punjab CM.

The News