Court orders Pemra to stop airing of anti-judiciary speeches

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The high court also has directed all concerned authorities to ensure no contemptuous speech is broadcast on any TV channel in the next 15 days.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Muzahir Akbar Naqvi conducted hearing of the case.

Maryam in her address had said: "The SC judges had asked Imran Khan (cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman) to file a petition so that they could oust Nawaz Sharif as he (Khan) had failed to make that happen through protest movement".

During the proceedings, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was directed to decide on complaints against "anti-judiciary speeches" within 15 days.

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

Stressing that his client was being subjected to baseless criticism, PEMRA counsel Salman Akram Raja said the authority had used its powers to decide on the anti-judiciary remarks issue.

The court said that the petition was dismissed by PEMRA on technical grounds and this gave an impression that permission was granted to air anti-judiciary speeches.

The court also rejected an application filed by Advocate AK Dogar on behalf of Nawaz Sharif requesting that Justice Naqvi recuse himself from the full bench.

"This is not a minor mistake", the bench observed.

The bench dismsised defense counsel's reservations.

The petitioner said PEMRA did not block these hateful and ridiculing remarks passed against the judiciary. PEMRA's counsel admitted that the move was a mistake.

Maryam's counsel in the case resumed cross-examination of prosecution witness Wajid Zia, the head of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Sharif family's offshore assets.

"Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every citizen", Barrister Ali Zafar, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told Arab News.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz would not be appearing before the judge Muhammad Bashir as they were not able to fly to Islamabad due to inclement weather, an exemption for which was granted.

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