SC to initiate action on anti-judiciary remarks at ‘appropriate time’

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  • Rejects plea seeking contempt cases against Nawaz and Shehbaz, says deposed PM criticised JIT, not SC

  • Dismisses petitions against Capt (r) Safdar, Saad Rafique, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nayyar Bukhari

  • Issues contempt notice to Rehman Malik 

  • LHC issues contempt notice to Nawaz, Maryam

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court (SC) bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar, on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking initiation of contempt cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

In a petition filed by Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi, the plaintiff pleaded the court for action against the deposed PM and his family members for making anti-judiciary remarks after the Panama case verdict.

The petition stated that Nawaz Sharif had delivered speeches against the court-appointed Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The petitioner also stated that Shehbaz Sharif had committed contempt of court by issuing remarks against the judiciary.

CJP Nisar, while hearing the petition, stated that the former premier had used inappropriate words against the JIT and not the court and hence did not qualify for a contempt of court offence. He also added that the case against anti-judiciary statements by Nawaz Sharif will be heard at an appropriate time.

Commenting on the contempt evidence against Shehbaz Sharif presented before the court, in which the Punjab CM is quoted as saying that judges, as well as generals, didn’t do justice to the country, the CJP stated, “This is the truth. No one has done justice to the country. We haven’t discharged our responsibilities in earnest.”

“Had we fulfilled our responsibilities, the situation would have been different,” he added.

“The court is noting the remarks being made regarding the judiciary at present and will take up those cases at an appropriate time,” the CJP observed.

The SC bench during Tuesday’s hearing also disposed of contempt petitions against various politicians.

The court dismissed petitions against Federal Minister for Railways Saad Rafique, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Firdous Ashiq Awan, former Senate chairman Nayyar Bukhari and Captain (r) Safdar.

The contempt cases against late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Syed Iqbal Haider were also declared ineffective and disposed of.

The court also wrapped up a petition against the holding of dual offices —president of Pakistan and army chief — by General (r) Pervez Musharraf.

The bench also took up a contempt case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan pending disposal since 2014.

Hashmat Habib, the petitioner’s counsel, said that he wanted to pursue the case to which the chief justice said that he had set a date for the hearing of the case.

CONTEMPT NOTICE ISSUED TO REHMAN MALIK: 

Former interior minister Rehman Malik was served with a contempt notice for failing to re-compensate the government for the benefits he utilised during his time in the Senate despite the court’s order in the dual nationality case.

The hearing was then adjourned indefinitely.

LHC ISSUES CONTEMPT NOTICE TO NAWAZ, MARYAM:

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday issued notices to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) seeking replies on a petition seeking a ban on speeches by PML-N leaders.

Justice Shahid Kareem of the LHC asked the Sharifs and PEMRA to submit their replies by March 15.

The petition states that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentarians were not refraining from making anti-judiciary speeches with reference to the Panama case decision, which clearly added up to contempt of court.

The petitioner’s counsel further said that speakers in NA and provincial assemblies were biased in favour of PML-N as they belonged to the same party. Therefore, they were not taking any action against Nawaz and Maryam for making anti-judiciary statements, he added.

He requested that the court should exercise its powers and order PEMRA to stop broadcasting anti-judiciary speeches of PML-N leaders on the media.

The LHC on Jan 31, had issued notices to 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.

Similarly, Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Jan 29, declared admissible the petition filed against ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on their anti-judiciary speeches.

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.

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