LAHORE -  Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Thursday said the Supreme Court should have accepted Nehal Hashmi’s unconditional apology.

Speaking against the one-month jail term awarded by the Supreme Court to PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi on contempt charges, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said, “Nehal Hashmi’s unconditional apology should have been accepted.”

The apex court, besides imposing Rs 50,000 fine and awarding one-month imprisonment, ruled that Hashmi stands disqualified from holding public office for five years.

“Traditionally, whoever asks for an unconditional apology is forgiven,” Sanaullah pointed out as he recalled instances from the past when the apex court forgave individuals for contempt of court after they sought an unconditional apology. “Take Babar Awan’s example; he openly ridiculed the judiciary in the past, but was forgiven after he sought an unconditional apology. Nehal Hashmi also tendered an unconditional apology, but he wasn’t pardoned,” the minister rued.

Sanaullah noted that criticising decisions is a democratic right of an individual. “Nawaz Sharif accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict and stepped down. If he hadn’t accepted the decision, it would have been contempt of court. But simply criticising the verdict is not contempt of court,” he argued.

“Imran Khan was declared Sadiq and Ameen. Is it not my right to criticise this verdict?” Sanaullah questioned.

Judges are always and will always be respectable, the law minister added. “But throughout the history, certain decisions have been criticised.”