News Analysis |
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan against alleged media curbs and “blackout of its activities by the media at the behest of the PTI government”. However, political commentators believe that the party is trying to manipulate public opinion after violating the order passed by the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The PML-N workers not only blocked the road but also confronted the police which ultimately led to arrest of many workers and some local leaders.
According to details, Punjab police booked over 2,000 political leaders and workers, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, Javed Hashmi and Qamar Zaman Kaira of the PPP, for staging an anti-government rally on the Mall Road on Thursday.
Interestingly, the LHC issued an order earlier that no rallies can be held at mall road. Chief justice LHC ordered Chief Secretary Punjab to implement the court’s order. Opposition parties including PML-N wanted to hold a rally at Charing Cross where Shehbaz Sharif was expected to address a huge public gathering. Despite knowing the fact that the court had ordered not to block the Mall road PML-N tried to stage a protest on the same, later on it blamed the government for raids.
The decision of the federal court is laudable for the larger segment of the society that believes that those under due process of law
PML-N believes the PTI government did not want to let them hold a rally. “The opposition parties are going to file a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the media curbs and blackout of the opposition’s activities at the behest of the government,” PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal told reporters after a party meeting.
Political observers think that the PML-N wanted to play a tactic and seek public sympathy as the incumbent government was not allowing them to stage an anti-government protest. “The government has only implemented the verdict of the LHC, not invented the one to arrest the political workers and leaders of the PML-N. They have violated the order of the court,” a PTI worker said.
Police have registered case against those who violated court’s order. The main case was registered against leaders of the PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and 58 of them were nominated for taking our rally on the Mall Road led by Shahbaz Sharif.
Shehbaz Sharif and others booked for holding Jalsa on Mall Road Lahore yesterday pic.twitter.com/5DoNjky1eS
— Khalid (Halit Ertuğrul) (@khalid_pk) July 26, 2019
Those nominated in the FIRs include Khurram Dastghir, Waheed Gull, Rana Mohammad Arshad, Rabia Naseem Farooqi, Waheed Alam, Mian Marghub, Retd Col Mubashar Javed, Nazir Sawati, Saleem Butt, Samra Komal, Majid Zahoor, Khurram Rohil Ashgar, Malik Riaz, Sheikh Rohil Ashgar, Dr Asad Ashraf, Naseer Bhutta, Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Ameer Babar Khan Hoti, Rana Mashhood, Bilal Yasin, Mian Mujtaba Shuja Rehman, etc, besides over 2,000 workers of political parties.
Investigations are being carried out and those involved in violation of the law are likely to face courts.
No media coverage to convicted and under-trials politicians
Recently, the federal cabinet decided to block media coverage and interviews of politicians who are convicts or under-trail prisoners and directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to fulfill its “responsibility” to discourage airing of such programs by electronic media.
It was widely being discussed across the country whether those convicted or under-trial should be given airtime on national TV to comment on the case and slam the courts or NAB. A petition has already been filed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging the production orders of the arrested members of the National Assembly.
Reports suggest that the petitioner has challenged the production orders of opposition leaders and politicians arrested over corruption allegations while arguing that such orders can’t be issued when the accused is under physical remand of law enforcement. The appeal further entailed that the production orders were a systematic order which can’t be seen in isolation from court orders.
The decision of the federal court is laudable for the larger segment of the society that believes that those under due process of law must present all their evidence before the court of law so that no court in the country becomes a victim of power politics. A legal observer believes that “the decision is in line with the law. Nobody under the trial be given opportunity to incite hatred against the superior courts. Let the case be decided and then allow people, if not found guilty, to appear on TV and explain their position,”