The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered to submit a transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech during the hearing of a contempt of court petition against PM Imran Khan for allegedly criticizing the judiciary.
Justice Baqir Naji of Lahore High Court heard the contempt of court petition filed against the Prime Minister.
During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner said that the judiciary could not be criticized even in Parliament and the Assembly.
Petitioner’s counsel said that the Prime Minister was constantly criticizing the judiciary in TV programs and statements.
He said that criticism of the judiciary of the Prime Minister falls under the category of contempt of court, the judiciary cannot be criticized under the Constitution of Pakistan.
Petitioner’s counsel requested the court to order the closure of programs related to the judiciary.
During the hearing, the federal government’s counsel said that the petition is not admissible, the petitioner is not an affected party and therefore it should be dismissed as inadmissible.
During the hearing, the court rejected the request to summon the Chairman PEMRA in person and directed the petitioner to give arguments on the admissibility of the petition at the next hearing.
Later, the Lahore High Court directed the petitioner to produce a transcript of the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
It may be recalled that Sardar Farhat Manzoor Chandio Advocate had filed a contempt of court petition against the Prime Minister in the Lahore High Court.
The petition lists the Personal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Pakistan as well as the Secretary Information, Chairman PEMRA and Chairman PTV as parties.
The petition said that a live program was aired on PTV on April 4, 2021, at 4 pm in which Prime Minister Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi was answering questions.
The petitioner had taken the position that the Prime Minister of Pakistan had made an anti-judicial statement in the said program and through the message had accused the judges and the judiciary of having links with Nawaz Sharif.
He had said that the statement of the Prime Minister falls under the category of contempt of court while he also tried to hold the judges responsible for the poor investigation of NAB.
He said that the Prime Minister had violated Article 204 of the Constitution with his words which is related to contempt of court while he had also violated Articles 68 and 114 which prohibit making insulting statements against the judiciary even in the Parliament.
He said that such practices could not be tolerated and immediate action was needed to restore the dignity of the esteemed judges.
The petitioner said that stakeholders had been convicted several times in the past for contempt of court, including former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was convicted when he was the Prime Minister.
He had said that the Prime Minister should be permanently restrained from making such insulting statements against the judiciary and esteemed judges and called on him personally to broadcast such insulting material in the wider interest of the country and the people. An explanation should also be sought.
The contempt petition against the Prime Minister was allowed for hearing on April 5.
It should be noted that during the program, the Prime Minister had said that the PTI government was demanding that the convicted Nawaz Sharif should sign bail bonds of at least Rs. 7 billion, yet the judges freed him and sent him abroad.
It may be recalled that in November 2019, the Islamabad High Court granted bail to Nawaz Sharif in the Azizia reference and suspended his sentence for eight weeks while directing him to approach the Punjab government for further respite.