Thursday December 02, 2021

Anti-judiciary speeches: Non-submission of report by Pemra angers LHC

March 02, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday showed displeasure at non-submission of a report by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) pertaining to complaints against alleged contemptuous and anti-judiciary speeches of Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other leaders of PML-N.

Previously, the court had directed Pemra authorities to conduct a meeting on complaints received against contemptuous material being broadcasted on television channels and submit a report.

However, as the hearing commenced on Thursday, Pemra’s counsel, Ali Gillani, told the court that required meeting could not be held due to other engagements of authority officials. He sought time to present the report.

This irked the judge and he remarked that it is Pemra’s primary responsibility to get its laws implemented and if it is unable to discharge its legal obligations, it should be shut down. During the course of hearing, the court also turned down plea of Nawaz Sharif’s counsel to become a necessary party in the case. The court reminded Nawaz’s counsel, Azam Nazir Tarar, that the instant matter is between Pemra and judiciary and the court would hear his arguments after Pemra would complete its proceedings.

The court granted more time to Pemra and directed it to furnish the report till March 8. Justice Shahid Karim is hearing a petition against Sharifs and company’s anti-judiciary speeches, pleading that that Mr Sharif started a campaign against the state institutions since his disqualification in Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court. He said Maryam Nawaz also joined the campaign of her father and launched a tirade of criticism against the judiciary.

The petitioner’s counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique argued that the apex court had jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and exclusive authority to decide whether an issue was of political or non-political.

The lawyer further said that the former premier and his daughter had not been criticising judgments of the apex court but directly trying to scandalise the judges. He said the respondents seriously marked scratches on integrity of the judges, which also amounted to commit sedition against the state.

He asked the court to order Pemra to ban broadcasting of hate speeches by the respondents as it could lead to anarchy in the country. Moreover, he said the act of the respondents was not only a contempt of court in view of Article 204 of the Constitution but also sedition. He also sought suspension of the licences of television channels for airing hate material, hate speeches, derogatory remarks against the state institutions.