Court Places Ban on Airing Contemptuous Speeches of Nawaz and Maryam. The Lahore High Court has placed a temporary ban on broadcasting “Anti –judiciary speeches” by Ex-prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and 14 others.
The decision was made by a full bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, comprising Justic Atir Mahmoud and Justice Masood Jahangir after resuming the hearing of 27 such contemptuous petitions.
The Court Order
The Court has ordered Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to remove anti-judiciary content in 15 days. Judiciary itself will monitor to ensure no violation takes place.
Court Places Ban on Airing Contemptuous Speeches of Nawaz and Maryam
The court severely criticized PEMRA for dismissing petitions containing anti-judiciary remarks. Advocate Azhar Siddiqui, Petition’s Counsel, informed the court that PEMRA don’t take actions against such petitions. He further said that:
“My job is to bring anti-judiciary remarks on record.”
Court Draws a Line Between Fair Criticism & Contemptuous Remarks
Court has elaborated that Article 19 of the constitution of Pakistan allows fair criticism and every other person is not allowed to criticize on judiciary. Court has further said that lawyers and experts can discuss court decisions as they know the court ethics. Justice Naqvi added that Article 68 of the Constitution of Pakistan prevents parliamentarians to criticize judiciary.
He said that there is a defined way to react to a court decision by filing a review petition if you are disagreed to a decision.
PEMRA’s Point of View
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel of PEMRA stressed that his client was unfairly criticized since the authority had decided on the anti-judiciary remarks using its powers. Raja terms dismissing the petition a minor mistake.
The bench questions Raja that instead of taking action PEMRA observed a passive role to give encourage hate speeches against judiciary. Bench also asks Raja “Should publishing of such a notice be considered a minor mistake?”
PEMRA dismissed such petitions on technical grounds but court observes this move as a green signal to air contemptuous speeches.
Objection from Nawaz’s Counsel
Nawaz’s Counsel AK Dogar objected the inclusion of Justice Naqvi in the bench saying that the judge ordered not to give Nawaz Sharif a chance of defense in another case. Dogar showed observation that his client is unsatisfied on the inclusion of Justice Naqvi and not expecting a fair treatment in his presence.