ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry on Wednesday submitted a list of 17 witnesses in defence of his stance on contempt charges and requested the apex court to grant him a week’s time to produce them for recording their statements. Besides a representative of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the list contains names of PML-N lawmakers and ministers among others. They are Senator Musaddiq Malik, Federal Minister for Information Mariyam Aurangzaib, MNA Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani, MNA Shahbaz Babar, MNA Nadeem Abbas, banker Hassan Aurangzeb Abbasi, Transporters’ Association president Israr Khan, Faisalabad Bar Association’s former president Ali Abbas Khan, Municipal Corporation of Jaranwala’s vice chairman Sheikh Habib, Raksha Association president Atta Muhammad, Municipal Corporation of Jaranwala members Imtiaz Khan, Abdul Sattar, Tanvir Hussain, and Qadir Qaisar.A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Justice Tariq Masood and Justice Faisal Arab heard the contempt of court notice against Talal Chaudhry on Wednesday. During the hearing, Justice Gulzar Ahmad asked Kamran Murtaza, senior counsel for Talal, to present the witnesses by Thursday (today) so that the bench could conclude the case soon.Kamran Murtaza contended that they had finalised the names on Tuesday and they now needed to approach the personnel to take their consent for the matter. When he requested the court to summon witnesses on payment a process fee in the interest of justice, Justice Gulzar Ahmad questioned if the witnesses were going to present any new information. He asked, “Had Talal Chaudhry in his speeches not criticised the superior courts and the judges?”The judge observed that the witnesses would say what Talal Chaudhry had said during the last hearing. He asked Talal’s counsel to present his witnesses by Thursday, adding, “Otherwise we will close the evidence and fix the matter for arguments.” He also said that the bench would not be available in the next week.Later, on repeated requests by Kamran Murtaza, the court issued a notice only to the representative of Pemra, Muhammad Tahir, to appear before the court on Thursday to record his statement. The Pemra representative was also asked to bring to the court the record of Talal’s speeches made on January 24 and 27, 2018. Earlier on May 21, Talal Chaudhry had recorded his statement under Section 342 of Code of Criminal Procedure. He requested the court to withdraw the contempt charge against him and to not cast doubts on his intentions about the dignity of the court.He stated that he faces no allegation of prejudice in any matter pending before the court. He further stated that he honestly believed that he had neither uttered anything nor acted in a manner which might be construed as causing obstruction of the process of the court in any way.He contended that his January 24, 2018, press talk was edited with malafide intention and many of his sentences were removed from the actual substance to make it appear controversial. He stated that his January 27, 2018, speech was not against any of the judge. He contended that the video of his speech that was kept on record was also edited with malafide intention.Talal Chaudhry was indicted on March 15, 2018, on contempt of court charges. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice over Talal’s alleged derogatory and contemptuous statements and speeches at PML-N public gatherings against the apex court.Published in Daily Times, May 24th 2018.