By Iram Salim
It seems setting up a news channel – GNN – is not being paid off for the Gourmet group as it no more protect its sub-standard food business after the Supreme Court action against the Gurmet Bakers for feeding substandard food to the public.
Former police officer Zubair Chatha and his other siblings have come under radar for making huge money by tax evasion and other sources.
It is Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar who the other day refused to be blackmailed by the GNN and Gourmet group.
The CJ ordered the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) to close all ice cream production units of the Gourmet Foods Company and rebuked two journalists associated with a private TV news channel for making “sifarshi” phone calls to him.
“How dared you call me to seek a favour?” the chief justice angrily asked Khalid Qayum, Lahore bureau chief of the channel. The channel’s news director, Imran Yaqoob, was also snubbed.
“Anyone trying to approach me for any sifarish (seeking a favour) should be aware of the consequences,” said the chief justice. He also asked the journalists as to how the channel owner became a rich businessman overnight.
“He might have established the news channel to protect his other business entities. The whole story will be uncovered once investigated,” observed the chief justice.
Addressing the journalists, the chief justice said, “You have been running a character assassination campaign on the news channel against a government officer for taking action against Gourmet.”
Earlier, PFA Director General retired Capt Muhammad Usman told the court that the authority conducted an analysis of the samples which the company itself provided and found the ice cream substandard.
Mr Usman complained that a news channel launched a vilification campaign against him after the PFA closed the company’s ice cream production units.
The CJP observed that such campaigns were tantamount to contempt of the court as all the actions being taken by the PFA were taken on its direction.
The PFA DG said other media houses also supported the news channel and did not mention the name of food company in the news regarding the action taken against its substandard production.
“I will see how the media does not air news against the manufacturers of substandard products,” the chief justice said and issued a notice to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for Wednesday (today).
“If deemed appropriate, I can order a temporary or permanent closure of the GNN,” the chief justice reminded the journalists.
Chief Justice Nisar also summoned Sheharyar Chattha and Zulqarnain Chattha – the owners of the Gourmet group – and directed the PFA to shut down all ice cream production units of the food company in the province and examine all its products.
The PFA sealed Gourmet’s Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan production units and discarded 34,368 litres of ice cream and desserts being sold in the market.
Both Chaths today tendered apology to the CJP. The two poor journalists said privately that the owners of the channels used journalists for their businesses. The CJP should take notice of this and summon all media owners. — Pak Destiny