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Nawaz, Maryam’s speeches haven’t been banned, explains CJP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that the Lahore High Court didn’t restrain former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from making speeches, but directed the Pemra to ensure no anti-judiciary speeches are aired on television channels. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed a three-judge bench, said newspapers wrongly reported that a ban has been imposed on speeches by Sharif and his daughter.

The Attorney General read out the LHC verdict in the courtroom, saying it had directed the Pemra to stop news channels from airing speeches against the judiciary and judges.

The chief justice observed that the high court passed such orders in compliance with Article 19 (Freedom of speech) and 68 (Restriction on discussion) of the Constitution.

Article 68 stipulates no discussion shall take place with respect to the conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties.

Whereas, Article 19 says every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, or incitement to an offence.

Earlier in the day,  CJP Nisar took suo motu notice of the verdict in question and summoned record of the case to determine whether the court has deprived the former premier and his daughter of their right to freedom of speech.

On Monday, a larger bench of the LHC ordered Pemra to stop television channels from airing anti-judiciary speeches by Sharif, his daughter and other party leaders.

The larger bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, gave this verdict on petitions seeking initiation of contempt cases against former premier Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and other PML-N leaders for criticizing the judiciary.

The bench directed the media regulatory body to ensure that no anti-judiciary content is aired on TV channels.

The petitioners submitted that Sharif and his daughter had been severely criticizing the judiciary in their public speeches.

They said the regulatory body had so far failed to take any action to stop the airing of the speeches despite high court orders in this regard.

The petitioners pleaded with the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Sharif and his daughter and restrain them from maligning the judiciary.

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