LHC issues contempt notice to Nawaz, Maryam over anti-judiciary speeches

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday issued a notice to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on a petition seeking the court’s action against anti-judiciary speeches made by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders at a public rally in Jaranwala on January 27.

The petitioner, Amna Malik, submitted that the ruling party leaders were slandering the judiciary in their regular speeches and pleaded for the court’s injunctions against PML-N leaders and initiation of contempt proceedings against them.

The petitioner also seeks the court’s directives to PEMRA for stopping news channels from airing their speeches targeting the judiciary.

While hearing the case, Justice Shahid Karim directed the petitioner to present evidence of contempt in the next hearing.

The court ordered all parties to submit their responses and adjourned the case until February 14.

The petition in LHC comes on the heels of an Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision on January 29, where it declared admissible the petition filed against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on their anti-judiciary speeches.

Justice Amir Farooq conducted hearing on the plea of Adnan Iqbal who submitted that Nawaz and Maryam are spreading anarchy against courts. He added that their speeches come under contempt of court, therefore they should be tried under the relevant laws.

Earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday said that the top court will take notice of the ousted premier’s anti-judiciary speeches at an “appropriate” time.

The CJP expressed these views in response to a journalist’s query of why the SC is not taking notice of Nawaz’s speeches during the hearing of the suo motu case of eight-year-old Zainab’s rape and murder in Kasur.

“There is a proper time to take action in any matter,” remarked the CJP. He also said that they are not showing restraint, but will take notice in the matter at an ‘appropriate’ time.

“When we will decide to take notice no power in the world can force us to stop,” the CJP concluded.

On January 20, Mian Saqib Nisar had said that the courts have seldom tried people for contempt [of the court] despite so much criticism against the judiciary.

In December last year, the CJP had asked those criticising the courts to “not malign the judiciary if the verdict is against them”, also clarifying that the judges were not taking “dictation” from anyone.

In December last year, ousted premier Nawaz Sharif announced a campaign against what he called the “double standards” of the judiciary.

Nawaz Sharif announced the anti-judiciary drive after the top court gave a clean chit to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan but disqualified general secretary Jahangir Tareen on constitutional petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi.