Pak court bans airing 'contemptuous' speeches by Nawaz Sharif, Maryam

Former PM Nawaz and Maryam outside the accountability court in Islamabad

The court referred the petitions to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday to decide the cases within 15 days and until that time refrained news channels from airing any contemptuous remarks. The thrice elected premier has been criticizing the courts more than anybody else, he observed.

"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". It made sense for a lawyer or an expert in legal matters to comment on judicial verdicts, the judge added. Drawing attention to Article 68, Justice Naqvi said it even prevented the Parliament from criticising the judiciary and its decisions.

PEMRA's counsel Salman Akram Raja told that the authority had rejected the applications.

It had reserved the verdict earlier in the day after hearing arguments from the counsels for Pemra, the former premier and petitioners.

"This is not a minor mistake", the bench replied.

The petitioner said PEMRA did not block these hateful and ridiculing remarks passed against the judiciary. "Should publishing of such a notice be considered a minor mistake?"

The petitions filed in the Lahore High Court contended that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership had been making derogatory speeches against Supreme Court judges since Sharif's disqualification in the Panama Papers case in 2017.

Multiple petitions have been filed in different courts against them over alleged contempt of court.

Plaintiff's lawyer Azhar Siddiq Advocate argued that the anti-judiciary speeches of Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz are being on-aired on television channels that comes under contempt of court. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified him in July a year ago, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign.

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