The Supreme Court on Friday announced that it would indict Nehal Hashmi, the senator who became a political pariah after his incendiary speech criticising an investigation into the prime minister’s business dealings abroad was circulated widely on media.
During Friday’s hearing on the matter, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed expressed severe displeasure at Hashmi’s unannounced absence from the courtroom. Upon being told by Hashmi’s lawyer that his client had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, the judge said he should not have left without informing the court.
Dismissing the written reply the senator had submitted earlier this week to explain his threats against ‘those investigating’ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, the court said it would now bring criminal charges against Hashmi. The charges will be framed on July 10. The senator had come under fire after he was seen in a video apparently warning individuals conducting a Supreme Court-sanctioned investigation that they would be ‘taken to task’ for grilling the premier’s family.
His remarks were, prima facie, directed at the Supreme Court-appointed Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Sharif family’s business dealings abroad. Hours after the senator’s incendiary remarks made national headlines, Hashmi’s membership of the PML-N was suspended and a show-cause notice was issued to him. The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the video and summoned the senator to appear before the special bench overseeing the implementation of the Panama Papers verdict.
Subsequently, the senator also tendered his resignation from his seat in the Senate; however, a few days later, he withdrew the resignation citing the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that compelled him to take the step.