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Country's law allows everyone to respectfully comment on judicial verdicts: SC.

Dismissing contempt pleas against ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has observed that while Nawaz's statements may have crossed boundaries, the material presented in the petitions is not enough to issue contempt notice.Fixing previously filed petitions that were time-barred or unmaintainable on Wednesday, the SC dismissed contempt applications against Nawaz, Federal Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz and Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique.

The applications, filed by Advocate Sheikhul Hasan, claimed that Nawaz's speech at Lahore rally had questioned the judiciary in a humiliating way.Hasan claimed the PML-N Quaid's statement that the court's decision to declare prime minister incompetent sounded same as declaring Pakistanis incompetent was anti-judiciary.

Quoting another statement, "the verdict has mocked 200 million people of the country not just Nawaz Sharif", Hasan raised doubts over PML-N securing all 200 million votes in General Elections 2018.Reviewing prosecution arguments, Justice Nisar remarked that the statements made by Nawaz political in nature but the country's constitution allowed everyone to respectfully comment on any decisions made by the judiciary. He observed that while Nawaz may have crossed limits elsewhere, the statements highlighted in the petition did not disrespect judiciary.

The petitioner argued on the limit to judicial restraint, however, Justice Ijazul Hasan remarked that the court exercised greater restraint than him.The CJP added that the bench did not consider the content presented in the application enough for a contempt of court notice.

"Nawaz did not cross boundaries."Meanwhile, contempt pleas against Rafique and Aziz were also dismissed.

Sheikh Ahsanuddin, who filed contempt plea against Rafique, requested the court to listen to any of the political speeches made by the federal minister. Observing that while the court had enough moderately objectionably content, CJP said it preferred to exercise a high degree of restraint.

The application against Aziz was dismissed due to withdrawal from the prosecution.

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Publication:The Balochistan Express (Quetta, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 14, 2018
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