Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualifies PML-N party senior leader for contempt of court

Vastavam web: Pakistan’s Supreme Court today sentenced a senior leader of the jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party for contempt of court, disqualifying him from holding public office for five years, months after he made anti-judiciary remarks.The Supreme Court had initiated contempt proceedings against the fire-brand Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Tallal Chaudhry for his “derogatory and contemptuous speeches/statements” against the judiciary during a rally in January.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad, sentenced Chaudhry till the rising of the court and also imposed a fine of Rs 100,000. Chaudhry was ordered by the apex court to ensure his presence during today’s proceedings, which were based on a suo motu notice on his ‘anti-judiciary’ speech during a party rally in Jaranwala in January this year. Chaudhry had contested the July 25 general election from NA-102 (Faisalabad-II) but lost to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Nawab Shair by nearly 12,000 votes.

During his speech at a PML-N rally, Chaudhry had demanded removing the judges of the apex court, alleging, “they will not give justice but will continue their injustices.” On February 1, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of “contemptuous speeches”, and on February 6, the top court issued Chaudhry a show-cause notice, ordering him to file his response.While speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court today, Chaudhry said, “I accept this verdict if it increases the court’s standing.”

He also vowed to file a review petition against the verdict. He also claimed that the contempt case had negatively impacted his poll performance.He said the people in his district “had difficulties making a decision”, and that his opponents had taken advantage of the opportunity by campaigning on his expected disqualification.Chaudhry’s conviction follows those of other PML-N leaders who, in their defence of party supremo and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, made derogatory remarks against state institutions.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a corruption case last month by an anti-graft court. In June this year, the top court, on a similar case, sentenced former federal privatisation minister and PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz for contempt “till rising of the court”.The contempt judgement also led to similar automatic disqualification from Parliament for five years and restrained Aziz from contesting the July 25 election.