IHC dismisses plea seeking ban on Nawaz’ speeches

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s speeches. They noted the “tendency of invoking the constitutional jurisdiction of a high court in political matters was certainly not in public interest”.
The petitioner had pleaded that Nawaz Sharif had gone to London on the pretext of availing medical care but instead of focusing on his health, he was actively participating in politics and had initiated a “smear campaign” against state institutions. He urged the court to order that Nawaz’s recent “hate speeches” be taken down from the internet and that he should be prohibited from delivering speeches in future. The plea was heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
After hearing the arguments, the IHC reserved verdict briefly but later turned down the petition and referred that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had banned speeches delivered by individuals who were declared as absconders in a case.
Taking this argument into account, the court said that the petitioner “could not give a plausible explanation for invoking the jurisdiction of this court when an alternate remedy was available” to them.
The petitioner had also expressed concern that the country’s security was being “threatened”, the five-page verdict noted. The court, however, dismissed this argument in saying that “the security of Pakistan is not frail nor can be threatened by mere political rhetoric”. According to the verdict, the petitioner’s concerns about the country’s security were “misconceived”.
People of Pakistan, through their chosen representatives, have the will and resolve to safeguard the security of Pakistan. The security of Pakistan is surely not dependent on the issuance of a writ by this court, said the verdict.
The court also noted that the petitioner had not been able to convince the court that any of his rights were violated or denied, the ruling said. According to the court, “demand of the person asserting the right must have been refused” before they approach a court for relief. In addition, the verdict said it was not in the public interest to invoke the “constitutional jurisdiction of a high court in matters involving political content”, especially in cases where the law provides “alternative remedies.”