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Pakistani court bans airing of Sharif's 'anti-judiciary' speeches for 15 days

A Pakistani court today ordered the country's electronic media watchdog to stop the TV channels from airing anti-judiciary speeches by ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his other aides, and submit a report within 15 days.

A three-member Lahore High Court bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi also directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to decide all pending complaints regarding the alleged contemptuous speeches within 15 days and devise a framework.

The court also rejected an application filed by Advocate A K Dogar on behalf of Sharif requesting that Justice Naqvi recuse himself from the full bench.

"PEMRA has also been directed by the LHC to strictly monitor TV channels with regard to airing any anti-judiciary speeches/remarks and submit a report after 15 days," a court official told PTI.

He said the bench also dismissed Sharif's petition challenging the jurisdiction of the court in this matter.

Sharif, 68, is facing three corruption cases linked to the Panama Papers case in an anti-graft court. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified him in July 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 (PML-N), has been hanging in the balance since then. If convicted, he can be jailed.

Multiple petitions have been filed in different courts against them over alleged contempt of court.

A 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 in a 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 their tirade was going unnoticed.

She further said the Sharif family members and their aides 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 court 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.

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