Barred from public office for 5 years
The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced Senator Nehal Hashmi to one-month imprisonment and barred him from holding public office for the next five years as it announced its verdict in the contempt of court case against the former PML-N stalwart.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Dost Mohammad, also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on the senator.
Further, the bench dismissed an unconditional apology, which Hashmi had submitted to the court on January 24 for his threatening video message against “those investigating” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
While Justice Khosa and Justice Baqar are in agreement over the punishment announced against Hashmi, Justice Dost Mohammad has written a dissenting note in the case.
Following the order, Hashmi was taken into custody by police officials present in court and shifted the convict to the Secretariat Police Station from where was taken to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.
Senior lawyer Farogh Naseem said after the verdict that Hashmi retains the right to appeal the decision before a larger bench.
Meanwhile, former attorney general Irfan Qadir said it is an “unusual decision”.
State Interior Minister Tallal Chauhdry regretted the decision. In a TV interview he questioned if others who committed contempt will be brought to book or is the PML-N the only target. “You cannot force respect through fear,” he added.
Reacting over the court’s verdict, Chief of Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rashid said that the sentence given to Nehal Hashmi is less as compared to his crime.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry termed the decision as appropriate, saying that this verdict will be an example for Nawaz’s son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar who is continuously abusing judiciary.
On May 28, Hashmi triggered a political storm by threatening the members of the joint investigation team (JIT) and Supreme Court judges of “dire consequences” after their retirement for probing Sharif family in connection with Panama Papers case.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday took a suo motu notice of “contemptuous speeches” against judiciary made by PML-N leader and state minister Talal Chaudhry.
The court will hear the matter against the state minister for interior affairs on February 6, when Chaudhry has also been asked to appear.
During his speech at PML-N’s rally in Jarranwala last week, Chaudhry had said: “There was an era when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary, which is the country’s highest institution, is also full of PCO [Provisional Constitution Order] idols.”
“Mian Nawaz Sharif, throw them out, throw him out of the court. They will not give justice but will continue their injustices.”
He said that despite Sharif — the PML-N head — doing so much for the country, “They say that somebody else should become the prime minister.”
The Lahore High Court (LHC) has already served notices to Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Rana Sanaullah in a contempt of court petition regarding the same gathering.