On Wednesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa disparaged Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech for suggesting that the judiciary alone was the sole authority responsible for allowing Nawaz Sharif to leave the country.

In a thinly veiled reference to Sharif's travel to London for medical treatment, PM Khan had said that separate laws were in place for the weak and the powerful in the country. He questioned the kind of justice that was being served in Pakistani courts if two parallel legal systems were operating in tandem.

Justice Khosa however, was critical of PM Khan's comments, suggesting that his presentation of Sharif's case and subsequent departure from Pakistan was misleading.

He said, while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad: "The particular case that the respected prime minister referred to, I do not want to comment on that. But he [PM Imran] should know that they themselves allowed somebody [Nawaz Sharif] to go abroad. The debate in the High Court was only over modalities. Please be careful (with statements)."

He also warned the prime minister from referring to the judiciary as "the powerful".

"Don't give us this taunt referring to 'the powerful'. Nobody is powerful before us [the judiciary] other than the law itself."

Alluding to claims that the judiciary was no longer free, Justice Khosa said that the judiciary had far evolved from that of 2009. 

"For us, no one is either big or small or powerful. We convicted one prime minister and disqualified another. A (former) chief of army staff’s case is about to be decided soon. Are these examples not in front of you? For us, only the law is powerful," he said.

Criticism of the judiciary can often be interpreted as "contempt of court", which is considered a crime in Pakistan.