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Pakistan court issues notices to Nawaz Sharif, aides on contempt petition

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified him last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated. If convicted, he can be jailed.

By: PTI | Lahore |
January 31, 2018 8:57:17 pm
Pakistan court issues notices to Nawaz Sharif The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and his party, has been hanging in the balance ever since the Panama Papers were released. (Source: Reuters)

The legal woes of Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family mounted on Wednesday when a top court issued notices to them for allegedly committing contempt of court during a rally in Punjab province last week. The Lahore High Court issued notices to the federal government, Election Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to submit their reply by February 14.

Petitioner Amina Malik told the court that Sharif, his daughter Maryam, son-in-law Capt (retd.) Muhammad Safdar, Interior Minister Talal Chaudhry and Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah verbally attacked the Supreme Court judges on last Saturday’s rally in Jaranwala (some 150-km from Lahore) for disqualifying Sharif from the office of prime minister. She said Maryam made the most adverse remarks about the five judges who handed down disqualification to Sharif.

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. The judges acted as lawyers of Imran Khan and they were party against Nawaz Sharif.” The petitioner further said Sharif and Maryam had constantly belittling the SC judges since last July and their tirade was going unnoticed.

“They pointed fingers at the honesty, bravery and upholding rule of law. If they are not stopped they will continue attacking the judiciary,” the petitioner said, requesting the LHC to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the respondents under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution. The petitioner said Pemra did not block these hateful and ridiculing remarks passed against the judiciary. LHC Justice Shahid Karim adjourned the hearing till February 12.

Pakistan Chief Justice Saqib Nisar recently had said that the court would take notice against Sharif and others’ contemptuous remarks about judges at an appropriate time. Sharif, 68, is already facing three corruption cases linked to the Panama Papers case in an anti-graft court. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified him last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated.

The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and his party, has been hanging in the balance since then. If convicted, he can be jailed.

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