Pak court to hear plea for banning Nawaz Sharif's 'hate speech' on Monday

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah fixed October 5 as the date for hearing the petition, the paper said.

A Pakistani court will on Monday hear a petition seeking a ban on airing speeches of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on television channels, days after the top PML-N leader made blistering remarks from London targeting the country's powerful Army.

A citizen, Amir Aziz, filed the petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and made 70-year-old Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman and others as respondents, the Express Tribune reported.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah fixed October 5 as the date for hearing the petition, the paper said.

In his plea, the petitioner contended that the convicted former premier during his recent speeches, especially the one delivered via video link during the all parties conference on September 20, had maligned the state institutions and a convict's speech cannot be allowed to be broadcast on media.

"His [Sharif's] speech tarnished the image of national institutions."

The petitioner said that Sharif is a convicted criminal from the court and he cannot speak to the media, pleading the court to ban Sharif's "hate speech".

The petitioner pleaded the court to instruct PEMRA that Sharif's next speech should not be aired on any TV channel.

On Thursday, PEMRA banned broadcast and rebroadcast of any speech, interview or public address of absconders or proclaimed offenders. The move came after Sharif latest attack on the Pakistan Army, in which he alleged that the military had rigged the 2018 vote that brought Imran Khan to power.

The powerful Army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.

The regulatory body prohibited the broadcasting of content including commentary, opinions or suggestions about the potential fate of sub-judice matter which tends to prejudice the determination by a court and a tribunal in compliance with the order passed by the Supreme Court.

"If licensee fails to comply with the aforementioned directives, the authority shall take action under Sections 29 and 30 of the PEMRA Ordinance which may result in imposition of fine and suspension/revocation of licence," it added.

Sharif - who left for London late last year after securing bail for medical treatment in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and the Al Azizia reference - has been targeting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government as well as many state institutions, including the judiciary and the military.

He served as Pakistan's prime minister three times, first removed by a president in 1993, then by military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

A court in 2017 ousted him from power over corruption allegations. Khan, a former cricketer, came to power in 2018.

Sharif spoke from London, where he has been since last November when he was released on bail to seek medical treatment abroad. At the time, a court permitted Sharif to leave the country for four weeks, but he did not return.

A court last month issued arrest warrants for Sharif, previously sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and money laundering charges stemming from disclosures in the Panama Papers.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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