ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) yesterday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on airing speeches of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif and party President Shehbaz Sharif on television channels.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition seeking ban on the speeches of Sharif brothers and dismissed the same by terming it “not maintainable.”

The IHC bench observed in its verdict that the counsel could not give a plausible explanation for invoking the jurisdiction of this court when an alternate remedy was available to the petitioner under section 26 of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002.

It added that the counsel was also not able to satisfy this court that which of the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 had been violated requiring enforcement through issuance of a writ.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel stated that the petitioner was concerned because the security of Pakistan was being threatened.

Justice Athar noted in the verdict, “The security of Pakistan is not frail nor can be threatened by mere political rhetoric. The people of Pakistan, through their chosen representatives, have the will and resolve to safeguard the security of Pakistan. The security of Pakistan is surely not dependent on the issuance of a writ by this Court.”

He added, “The petitioner’s apprehensions regarding threats to security of Pakistan are definitely misconceived.” He continued that it is a settled law that in order to seek a writ of mandamus certain pre-requisites are to be complied with before invoking the jurisdiction of a High Court under Article 199 of the Constitution. There must exist a right in the person seeking the writ to insist upon a clear duty to be performed by some public authority.

“The demand of the person asserting the right must have been refused. In this case the petitioner has not fulfilled the pre-requisites nor could show that a legal right exists in his person to seek a writ of mandamus,” maintained the IHC Chief Justice.

He further said that the tendency of invoking the constitutional jurisdiction of a high court in matters involving political content is certainly not in public interest and that too when the law provides for alternate remedies.

“Courts ought to exercise restraint because of the consequences. It unnecessarily involves a Court in controversial matters which otherwise can be agitated before other appropriate forums. It also causes miscarriage of justice to the legitimate litigants because adjudication of their cases is delayed,” said Justice Athar.

He also noted, “Politically motivated petitions inevitably make the administration of justice including the Courts controversial because politics inherently is adversarial in nature. It is the duty of every enrolled Advocate as well as the respective Bars to ensure that the courts and the administration of justice are seen as impartial and neutral arbitrators of disputes.”

Justice Athar further said that as a corollary it is their duty to discourage litigants from bringing to the Courts unnecessary litigation having political content, particularly when the law provides for remedies and appropriate forums.

He maintained that for the above reasons, this petition is not maintainable and, therefore, accordingly dismissed.

 

In his petition, the petitioner prayed to the court to issue writ of prohibition against Nawaz Sharif and others restraining and refraining them from maligning, scandalizing, ridiculing, defaming, and disrespecting the state institutions including the judiciary, members of the judiciary and the judicial system in any manner whatsoever.

He also requested the court to direct the Chairman PEMRA to remove the hate speeches and in future not air/broadcast any such speech/statement made by Sharif brothers through videolink or any other source.