Court to take up petition for preliminary hearing tomorrow IHC moved against Minister for attributing Nawaz’ release to deal

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Zubair Qureshi

At a time when Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) for Information & Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan is facing contempt of court for commenting on IHC’s decision of granting bail to former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds, another minister is likely to face a similar proceeding in the court for seeing deal behind Nawaz Sharif’s bail and relief.
Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in a TV interview on Friday had linked release of Nawaz Sharif with some deal between the government and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
A senior lawyer of Islamabad, Khalid Mehmood has moved a petition against Sarwar in the IHC citing both the Minister and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) as respondents.
The IHC will take up his petition tomorrow (Monday) for preliminary hearing.
The petition while referring to a talk show aired on a private television channel pointed out that the PTI’s minister openly linked the release of ailing ex prime minister with a deal between government and the ex-premier.
The IHC has recently suspended the sentence of Mr Sharif for eight weeks as the medical board constituted by the Punjab government declared his condition as ‘critical and serious’.
The petition has termed Sarwar Khan’s remarks “unfortunate” which gave an impression that judicial institutions of this country had also played a role in the alleged ‘deal’.
“Being a citizen of this country, petitioner has a basic right to know about the facts whether such kind of ‘deal’ reached between Nawaz Sharif and the government. If answer is yes then it is a question mark on the independence of the institutions of this country and if answer is no then why a responsible leader of PTI and federal minister of this country gave such kind of irresponsible statement.”
According to the petition, the minister’s act was “to malign the dignity of this honorable court that accepted the petition and granted bail to Nawaz Sharif for eight weeks hence the statement of respondent No 1 [Ghulam Sarwar Khan] falls in the ambit of contempt of this court.”
The court has ample power to summon Khan and punish him under the relevant provisions of law, the petition said.
It requested the court to seek explanation from the minister for making such an statement and also ask him to “explain facts of the ‘deal’ between Mr Sharif, government and other institutions.
Meanwhile, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has once again submitted her unconditional apology leaving herself on the mercy of the court in a contempt of court notice issued to her by Chief Justice of the IHC Athar Minallah. On October 29, the IHC had granted post-arrest bail to Nawaz after suspending his sentence in the Al-Azizia case. The court allowed the bail Nawaz for eight weeks and asked him to seek further extension from the Punjab government. Dr Awan had commented on the court’s decision in a press conference.