LHC rejects Ahsan Iqbal’s request to stall contempt case until polls


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday rejected former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal’s petition to delay contempt proceedings against him until after elections.

The civil miscellaneous application was filed against Iqbal by Munir Ahmad in a pending petition against anti-judiciary speeches by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and 16 other leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The petition was heard by a full bench headed by Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

During the court’s proceedings, Iqbal’s lawyer Azam Nazeer Tarar told the court that his client had already asked for pardon. Iqbal informed the court that his court appearances were affecting his election campaigns and thus requested the court to adjourn the proceedings till after the elections. However, the court rejected the request and ordered Iqbal to submit a detailed response. It informed the defendant that it was his right to submit a request to be exempted from appearing in court.

Justice Atir Mehmood remarked that the incidents of contempt had taken place because of the judiciary’s forbearance.

Furthermore, Justice Naqvi observed that the defendant had been inquired multiple times by the court whether the ceremony where he had discussed the judiciary was an appropriate venue for the topic.

The hearing was then adjourned till June 29.

In the petition filed by Munir Ahmad, the petitioner had said that the then interior minister, Iqbal and Nawaz Sharif had used derogatory language against the Supreme Court judges on April 25 and 23 respectively and the same was aired by TV channels.

He had contended that under Article 68 of the Constitution, the respondents’ action was barred but the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) did not take any action despite being empowered by the PEMRA Ordinance.

Ahmad submitted that the authority failed to implement provisions of PEMRA ordinance and the court orders of April 16, therefore, contempt proceedings should be initiated against the respondents.