News Analysis |
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has disqualified Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N’s) outspoken and controversial leader Talal Chaudhry for five years in contempt of court case today [Thursday].
Talal has already lost the July 25 General Election from Faisalabad’s NA-102 constituency, therefore, punishment/conviction won’t have much effect on the politics of former minister.
Justice Gulzar Ahmad headed the three-judge bench and announced the verdict in the case which was reserved on July 11. Talal-a former minister of state for the interior was convicted of contempt of court. He was sentenced until the rising of the court. Besides, a fine of Rs1 lac was also imposed on him.
He was convicted of violating Article 204 of the Constitution. According to 204-contempt of court article, “Court” means the Supreme Court or High Court. (2) A Court shall have power to punish any person who,- (a) abuses, interferes with or obstructs the process of the Court in any way or disobeys any order of the Court; (b) scandalizes the Court or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Court or a Judge of the Court into hatred, ridicule or contempt; (c) does anything which tends to prejudice the determination of a matter pending before the Court; or (d) does any other thing which, by law, constitutes contempt of the Court.”
History of the case
Talal was indicted on the contempt charges on March 14. During the trail, Talal had taken the stance that these allegations were made by the media without taking into consideration the entire content of his speeches and context of his arguments.
The detailed examination of Talal’s speeches was conducted and CD’s containing derogatory statements were played in the court.
Talal-a former minister of state for the interior was convicted of contempt of court. He was sentenced until the rising of the court. Besides, a fine of Rs1 lac was also imposed on him.
During a public gathering in Jarranwala in January, he said, “There was an era when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary, which is the country’s highest institution, is also full of PCO idols.”
Continuing his outburst, he added, “Mian Nawaz Sharif, throw them out, throw him out of the court. They will not give justice but will continue their injustices.”
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on February 1 took a suo motu notice of contemptuous statements and public speeches against the judiciary.
Later on February 2, a notice was issued which stated that apex court had started the contempt proceedings against Talal for his derogatory speeches.
On February 24, in his written reply, he accused media of out of context reporting and accused media of reporting his speeches in a negative manner.
Former Minister had requested the court to withdraw the case. In his written response, he said that scandalizing the court or doing anything that tends to bring the court into ‘hatred, ridicule or contempt’ is ‘not even the last thing on the respondent’s mind’.
Talal Chaudhary was part of the PML-N’s leaders who vigorously defended party Chief Nawaz Sharif after his July 28, disqualification. And, in the due process, it ran an anti-judiciary campaign, where, its leadership attacked the Supreme Court’s chief justice.
Earlier, PML-N leader and Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz
Although Talal was relatively more aggressive in his words, his punishment was lenient and symbolic. Moreover, he is barred from holding any public office in the next five years. Most likely, PML-N will not be in power in Punjab in the next five years. Talal has already lost the July 25 General Election from Faisalabad’s NA-102 constituency, therefore, punishment/conviction won’t have much effect on the politics of former minister. Though, he has the right to appeal, but, it is unlikely that he would opt for it because contempt of court