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Daniyal Aziz “scandalizing the court”

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News Analysis |

The Supreme Court (SP) decided to indict PML-N leader and Privatization Minister Daniyal Aziz for contempt of court on Tuesday. The top court had taken a suo motu notice of ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches made by the minister. The minister is “committed to scandalizing the court”, observed the court. 

Justice Musheer Alam who read out the verdict stated that Aziz did allege during a press conference on September 08, 2017 that the top court judge had prepared a corruption reference after summoning the National Accountability Bureau’s Lahore team.

In another anti-judiciary speech on December 15, 2017, observed the court, Aziz alleged that the purpose of disqualifying Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was to save Imran Khan.

Pakistan’s democratic deficit is the result of various factors ranging from un-necessary military interventions in political process to self-centered political elite which never let the institutions get stronger and independent of political influence.

The court also observed that in his speech the minster while referring to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan’s receiving a ‘clean chit’ explicitly pointed towards political engineering. “It was said that all this was being done according to a script,” the verdict read.

The court also observed that a claim made by the minister against Justice Ijazul Ahsan on December 31 was also part of contempt proceeding. The court summoned prosecution witnesses to provide their testimonies in the next hearing on March 26. On the contrary, the minister kept on mentioning that “media ran my comments out of context” and he never thought of insulting the state’s institutions.

Read more: Gun & Country Club Islamabad shuts down protesting against MNA Danyal…

PML-N leaders’ “anti-judiciary” Speeches

It is pertinent to mention that the PML-N three leaders— former senator Nihal Hashmi, Federal Minister for Privatization Daniyal Aziz and State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry— are facing contempt of court proceeding. Nehal Hashmi was also sentenced to one month jail time in contempt of court case.

On February 1, a three judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa announced the verdict in contempt of court case against Nehal Hashmi for delivering “hate speech against judges”. He, along with the jail sentence, was ordered to pay a fine of Rs50, 000.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, in the detailed judgment of the contempt case against Hashmi, had observed: “[Hashmi] is a firebrand speaker and the tone, the pitch and the delivery of the offending words bear an ample testimony to that; but, unfortunately, on that day he had spewed fire towards a wrong direction”.

As Pakistan is going through a critical phase of its political journey the civilian leadership is required to respect the state institutions. But PML-N’s top leadership is certain to allege the judiciary and army as their formidable political opponents to sell their narrative in order to seek political support in the coming general elections.

He furthered observed that “he [Hashmi] attacked the judiciary, the judges and those who were tasked by this Court to investigate some allegations of criminal conduct on the part of the respondent’s political leader, his family, and others”.

But on the day Hashmi was released, he made yet again an anti-judiciary speech. The SP on February 7 ordered the registration of another first information report (FIR) against him. Hashmi alleged that he was a victim of some sort of “revenge”.

“Has this upheld the rule of law or was it an act of vengeance?” Hashmi asked angrily. He further stated that “it was my [Hashmi’s] right that my appeal should have been entertained”, but “it was not”.  “This is,” he alleged the top court, “height of oppression”. Moreover, the SC is expected to indict Talal Chaudhry on March 14 in another contempt court. 

Read more: SC issues contempt of court notices to Daniyal Aziz and Talal…

PML-N’s anti-judiciary in post-Panamagate judgment era

The SC has been under the verbal attack by the top leadership of PML-N since the Panamagate judgment against Sharif family.  Senior leaders of the party have also threatened the members of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and judges who gave the verdict. The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz have also made several speeches against the judges of top court.

The PML-N accused the superior judiciary of give their decisions on some predetermined scripts. The court is alleged of political engineering to victimize the party.

A three judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa announced the verdict in contempt of court case against Nehal Hashmi for delivering “hate speech against judges”. He, along with the jail sentence, was ordered to pay a fine of Rs50, 000.

Pakistan’s widely read English newspaper Dawn observed on March 13 that “following last year’s Panama Papers judgement in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, members of the ruling party, including [Daniyal] Aziz — on a number of occasions — had launched unprecedented verbal attacks on the country’s judiciary, accusing it of having different standards for the former prime minister than for his opponents”.

Read more: Is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar apolitical?

As Pakistan is going through a critical phase of its political journey the civilian leadership is required to respect the state institutions. But PML-N’s top leadership is certain to allege the judiciary and army as their formidable political opponents to sell their narrative in order to seek political support in the coming general elections. This in long run, as per political commentators in Pakistan, is going to be a threat to democracy. 

Pakistan’s democratic deficit is the result of various factors ranging from un-necessary military interventions in political process to self-centered political elite which never let the institutions get stronger and independent of political influence. Politicization of institutions in Pakistan is one of the biggest reasons which does not allow institution to work independently and on their constitutionally defined parameters. The judiciary at the moment intends to be independent of all sort of political influences, and this is something unacceptable for the forces of status quo in Pakistan.


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