LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah spoke out on Thursday against the one-month jail term awarded by the Supreme Court to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Nehal Hashmi on contempt charges.
“Nehal Hashmi’s unconditional apology should have been accepted,” the minister said, after the apex court ordered a one-month imprisonment sentence and Rs50,000 fine as it rejected Hashmi’s appeal for pardon.
The court also ruled that Hashmi stands disqualified from holding public office for a period of five years.
“Traditionally, whoever asks for an unconditional apology is forgiven,” Sanaullah pointed out, as he recalled instances from the past when the apex court forgave individuals for contempt of court after they sought an unconditional apology.
“Take Babar Awan’s example. He openly ridiculed the judiciary in the past but he was forgiven after he sought an unconditional apology. Nehal Hashmi also tendered an unconditional apology, but he wasn’t forgiven , ” the minister rued.
Sanaullah noted that criticising decisions is a democratic right of an individual.
“Nawaz Sharif accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict and stepped down. If he hadn’t accepted the decision, then it would have been contempt of court. But simply criticising the verdict is not contempt of court.”
“Imran Khan was declared Sadiq and Ameen. Is it not my right to criticise this verdict?” Sanaullah questioned.
Judges have always and will always be respectable, the law minister added. “But over all of history, certain decisions have been criticised.”
Orignally published by INP