News Analysis |
The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Thursday sentenced Senator Nehal Hashmi to one month in prison, fined him 50,000 rupees and barred him from holding public office for the next five years, in the contempt of court case against the former PML-N member. A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising ofJustice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Dost Mohammad gave the verdict.
On 28th May 2017, Hashmi had made an incendiary speech in a private gathering against the joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the SC to probe into the Panama Papers case. He threatened to make the lives of the people miserable that held Nawaz Sharif accountable. After his speech, on May 31, the SC took a suo moto notice of the issue and summoned Hashmi.
Hashmi gave his opinion in a private gathering but Nawaz has been inciting the public in open rallies which have a much greater potential of enraging the public and manipulating their opinions.
The PML-N had expelled Hashmi from their party for his remarks against the judiciary and JIT on 12th June 2017. Nehal Hashmi also tendered his resignation to the Senate for his remarks but he later withdrew it. On 24th January, Hashmi submitted an unconditional apology to SC for his remarks but the SC rejected his apology and reserved its judgment on the case.
The contempt of court case verdict against Nehal Hashmi was celebrated among the political rivals of PML-N. PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Jahangir Tareen posted tweets about the verdict and thanked the SC for giving a stringent punishment to Hashmi and expressed hope that the same would happen to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.
Thank God SC has finally taken notice and punished for contempt! Now the same shd be done to NS, Maryam and their coterie of abusers of the Superior judiciary! pic.twitter.com/5SNTCG0EWE
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) February 1, 2018
Finally SC acts against repeated attacks by Darbaris. Nehal Hashmi gets sent to jail and declared na ehal .A lesson for all NS , more loyal than the king darbaris. Hopefully more action to come pic.twitter.com/ga3ARJ9020
— Jahangir Khan Tareen (@JahangirKTareen) February 1, 2018
On the other hand, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah expressed his disapproval of the SC decision against Hashmi while giving a press conference in Lahore. “Nehal Hashmi’s unconditional apology should have been accepted,” he said about the SC verdict and lamented that the SC should have accepted an unconditional apology.
The IHC accepted a contempt of court petition against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on Monday. Media circles are speculating whether Nawaz and Maryam will share the same fate as Nehal Hashmi since the crime was the same in both these cases.
Nehal Hashmi gave his seditious speech almost two months before the landmark decision of the SC on 28th July 2017 which disqualified the former premier Nawaz Sharif. PML-N in general and Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz more specifically have started a nationwide campaign against the judiciary after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif. Political analysts have declared it hypocrisy on the end of PML-N which condemned the remarks of Nehal Hashmi but later joined in his tirade against the judiciary for the Panama Papers case decision.
Political experts ask that since Nehal Hashmi was expelled from the party for his anti-judiciary remarks, will the same happen to Nawaz Sharif and his aides who have been using the same language since the SC decision against Nawaz. The analysts believe that the contempt of court decision against Nehal Hashmi is a cause of concern within the PML-N circles. The SC didn’t take any action against Nawaz for contempt of court yet but this decision shows that the SC doesn’t take contempt lightly.
PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Jahangir Tareen posted tweets about the verdict and thanked the SC for giving a stringent punishment to Hashmi and expressed hope that the same would happen to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.
Media analysts are of the opinion that the decision against Nehal Hashmi will cause a stir within the PML-N ranks and other senior PML-N leaders might not be very comfortable with Nawaz Sharif’s attacks against state institutions. They believe that the PML-N might break apart after the verdict against Hashmi and Rana Sanaullah’s comments suggest that the verdict, rather than deterring the PML-N leadership, will encourage them to intensify their verbal attacks against the judiciary.
Read more: A polite ‘shut up’ call
Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) accepted a contempt of court petition against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz on Monday. Media circles are speculating whether Nawaz and Maryam will share the same fate as Nehal Hashmi since the crime was the same in both these cases. Hashmi gave his opinion in a private gathering but Nawaz has been inciting the public in open rallies which have a much greater potential of enraging the public and manipulating their opinions.