Pakistan court bans airing ‘contemptuous’ speeches by Nawaz, Maryam

Islamabad: The Lahore High Court ordered on Monday a temporary ban on the airing of “contemptuous” speeches about the country’s judiciary by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other PML-N leaders.

Giving the decision on over two dozen petitions filed against “anti-judiciary” speeches by Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other party leaders, the court ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to decide on the petitions in 15 days.

Until then, the court asked PEMRA to refrain from airing any such remarks, Geo News reported.

Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi, who headed a three-member full bench, also ruled that the court will personally monitor PEMRA’s conduct in the next two weeks to see how it implements the court’s order.

The petitions filed in the Lahore High Court contended that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership had been making derogatory speeches against Supreme Court judges since Sharif’s disqualification in the Panama Papers case in 2017.

Naqvi said that while Article 19 of the Constitution allowed fair criticism of judiciary, not every person should be allowed to criticize it just for the sake of exercising their right to criticize.

The petitions, which seek a ban on the anti-judiciary speeches, will now be decided by PEMRA. Sharif and his supporters have gone aggressive since the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding any public office in future.