By Maryam Iraj
A larger bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday orders PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) to stop electronic media from airing anti-judiciary speeches.
The larger bench, led by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, issued this verdict on petitions in initiating contempt cases against former premier Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and other PML-N leaders for criticizing the judiciary.
It had reserved the verdict earlier in the day after hearing arguments from the lawyers for Pemra, the disqualified Sharifs and other petitioners.
Bench further ordered the PEMRA to ensure that no anti-judiciary content is aired on TV channels.
In the earlier hearing, advocate A.K. Dogar, the disqualified Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, objected to the inclusion of Justice Athar Mehmood on the bench, stating that he had previously remained an office-bearer of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). Due to the political affiliation of Justice Mahmood, judgment may be subject to bias. Whereas, Justice Naqvi further told in support of Justice Mahmood that every citizen reserves a right to support any political party, and clarified that Justice Mehmood never held any office in PTI.
Disqualified Sharif’s lawyer, A.K. Dogar, insisted that the bench has already made up its mind about the outcome of the case, seemingly.
Justice Naqvi censured the lawyer, saying the court has yet not summoned him for presenting his arguments. The thrice elected Nawaz Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz has been criticizing the courts more than anybody else, Justice Naqvi observed.
The petitioners submitted that Sharif and his daughter had been severely criticizing the judiciary in their public speeches. Moreover, they said the PEMRA had so far failed to take any action to stop the airing of the hate-speeches despite high- court orders in this regard.
The petitioners had pleaded with the High Court , Lahore registry, to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Sharif and his daughter and restrain them from maligning the judiciary.