Lahore - The Lahore High Court accepted a petition to ban Nawaz Sharif’s “anti-judiciary” speeches on Monday, the very day the Supreme Court rejected a contempt petition against him - seeing no merit in it and observing that he was a nobody now.

Nawaz, who has been disqualified as the prime minister and barred from heading his own faction of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) by the Supreme Court, has been making harsh comments about the apex court verdicts against him, which he defends by saying that criticising the court’s decisions is their constitutional right.

Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh of LHC yesterday took up a petition filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffery in which he claimed that the inflammatory rhetoric used by Nawaz in his speeches was in direct contempt of the court.

He further held that the former prime minister’s speeches could be classified as “treason” and those were a “threat to the sovereignty of the state”. Therefore, he pleaded, that the transmission and publication of such speeches should be banned.

The lawyer cited the example of MQM-London leader Altaf Hussain whose speeches were banned in 2015 due to his anti-state rhetoric and his inciting people to violence.

Justice Sheikh forwarded the petition to a three-member full bench of the High Court and fixed the hearing for April 2.

Following the Panamagate verdict, Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders have drawn ire for their criticism of the judiciary.

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

In January, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had accepted a contempt of court petition against Nawaz and his daughter Maryam for making speeches critical of the judiciary.

The Supreme Court, however, earlier this month had dismissed a contempt of court petition against the ousted PM, saying: “Commenting cleanly on a [court] decision is the right of every citizen.”

 

Rejection of plea by SC

Also on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a contempt petition against the former prime minister about alleged noncompliance of court orders in the out-of-turn promotions case.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, a three-judge bench heard the contempt of court petition filed by ‘habitual petitioner’ Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi against Nawaz.

“What do we have in the case against Nawaz Sharif? Did he issue out of turn promotions?” the CJP asked while inquiring about the allegations leveled against the accused.

“Mian sahib is nobody now, so what actions can be taken [against him],” he was quoted as saying.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan commented that the case had become ineffective under the current circumstances.

The top court had dismissed similar petitions by the same person and Advocate Sheikhul Hasan earlier this month, which have already been mentioned.

The deposed PM had said last week that he respected all institutions but the top court’s decision was unacceptable to him and the entire nation.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz has also been very vocal on the issue, saying that slapping a contempt of court on Nawaz is a “contempt of vote” of all those who voted for the party.