Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Lahore High Court bans airing of anti-judiciary speeches by Nawaz Sharif

LHC bars Pemra from airing anti-judiciary content Bad weather prevents Sharif, daughter from attending Avenfield hearing
Patty Aguilar | 17 April, 2018, 03:16

A three-member Lahore High Court bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi also directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to decide all pending complaints regarding the alleged contemptuous speeches within 15 days and devise a framework.

The bench directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to decide the complaints pending with it regarding the alleged contemptuous speeches within 15 days as well.

In January, the Islamabad High Court had accepted a contempt of court petition against Sharif and his daughter Maryam for making speeches critical of the judiciary. "The judges acted as lawyers of Imran Khan and they were party against Nawaz Sharif".

"If they are not stopped they will continue attacking the judiciary, ? the petitioner said, requesting the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the respondents under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution". He added that it made sense for a lawyer or an expert to dwell on judicial verdicts but not every other person.

The court said that the petition was dismissed by PEMRA on technical grounds and this gave an impression that permission was granted to air anti-judiciary speeches. It added that the remarks caused stress to his client after which he expects no fair treatment at the hands of Justice Naqvi.

"Should we not take away from this that [PEMRA] allowed airing of anti-judiciary speeches by rejecting the application?" the bench asked.

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"The authority may have committed a minor mistake by dismissing the petition", replied Raja. PEMRA's counsel admitted that the move was a mistake.

The petitioner said PEMRA did not block these hateful and ridiculing remarks passed against the judiciary.

"The judiciary will also monitor content on channels to ensure no violations occur", the court ruled.

Maryam's counsel in the case resumed cross-examination of prosecution witness Wajid Zia, the head of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Sharif family's offshore assets.

However, the former prime minister's son-in-law, retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, was among the attendees in the court.

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