Temporary ban on the airing of anti-judiciary speeches by Khaqan, Nawaz, Maryam and others

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court placed a temporary ban on the airing of anti-judiciary speeches by PM Shahid Khaqan , former PM Nawaz Sharif , his daughter Maryam Nawaz and 14 other lawmakers, Pak News reported. A full bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and comprising Justice Masood Jahangir and Justice Atir Mahmoud resumed hearing of 27 miscellaneous contempt petitions against those accused.

The petition is referred to PEMRA and given the regulatory body 15 days to remove anti-judiciary content in addition to deciding on the petitions filed. The high court also has directed all concerned authorities to ensure no contemptuous speech is broadcast on any TV channel in the next 15 days. The judiciary will also monitor content on TV to ensure no violations occur.

PEMRA was slammed for dismissing petitions highlighting anti-judiciary remarks during court proceedings. Petitioner’s counsel Advocate Azhar Siddiqui informed the court that PEMRA did not take any action over petitions filed regarding anti-judiciary speeches. “My job is to bring anti-judiciary remarks on record,” said Siddiqui.

Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi remarked that while Article 19 of the Constitution allowed fair criticism of judiciary, not every person should be allowed to criticize it just for the sake of exercising their right to criticize. He added that it made sense for a lawyer or an expert to dwell on judicial verdicts but not every other person. Drawing attention to Article 68, Justice Naqvi said it even prevented the Parliament from criticizing the judiciary and its decisions. “A person dissatisfied at a verdict should file a review petition,” he added.

Observing that PEMRA had dismissed the petition on technical grounds, the bench inquired if the verdict should be taken as a green signal for speeches against the judiciary. PEMRA chose to not stop anti-judicary remarks, said Justice Mehmood. “The authority may have committed a minor mistake by dismissing the petition,” replied Raja.

“This is not a minor mistake,” the bench observed. “Instead of taking action, PEMRA sought advice from judiciary. Should publishing of such a notice be considered a minor mistake?”

Noting that the notice did not prove the authority failed in its duties, Justice Jahangir stressed that it was not fulfilling its responsibilities. PEMRA’s counsel admitted that the move was a mistake.

Meanwhile, Nawaz’s counsel AK Dogar again raised objections to the inclusion of Justice Naqvi in the bench. “The judge authored the order against Nawaz Sharif allowing no chance of defense,” the application filed by Dogar reads. It added that the remarks caused stress to his client after which he expects no fair treatment at the hands of Justice Naqvi. Pak New Report


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