Pakistan media watchdog ordered to stop airing Sharif’s ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches

“Pakistan is being embarrassed in the world because of this decision. People across the world and Pakistanis are rejecting the decision.” said Nawaz Sharif (File) Top News

Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog was today ordered by the High Court here to stop airing ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification as the premier. On July 28, the five-member bench of the Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif for possessing a work permit in the firm of his son in the UAE.

After his disqualification, Sharif held a roadshow from Islamabad to his hometown of Lahore during which he had made a number of speeches in different cities. The contents of his speeches was seen in some quarters as being critical of the apex court.

Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Mamnoon Rasheed Sheikh, hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Amaan Welfare Foundation President Amina Malik, today issued notices to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Absar Alam asking him to file a report by September 12 – the date of the next hearing of the case, Dawn newspaper reported.

The petition was filed by Malik earlier this month against the former premier and 13 federal and provincial ministers of the ruling PML-N for their outburst against the Supreme Court following Nawaz’s disqualification in the Panama Papers graft case. The petitioner had asked the court to direct PEMRA to stop “airing and telecasting the contemptuous, derogatory and defamatory speeches” allegedly made by Nawaz and PML-N ministers. During the hearing, Malik’s counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that members of the parliament had made statements against the judiciary following the Panama Papers scandal verdict.

However, the government’s lawyer argued that the petition was based on allegations and, therefore, could not be heard by the High Court. After hearing the petitioner’s arguments in chambers, the judges ordered a temporary ban on the airing of the alleged “anti-judiciary statements” made by Nawaz Sharif, his brother Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Railways Saad Rafique and 16 other members of parliament till it deliberates the maintainability of a case regarding the same.

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