The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif’s speeches, reported The Dawn.
The petition stated that Sharif has started actively participating in politics and has initiated a smear campaign against state institutions, after going abroad on the pretext of availing medical treatment.
It urged the court to order that Sharif’s recent “hate speeches” be taken down from the internet and that he should be prohibited from delivering speeches in future. The plea was heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
The high court in its verdict said that it was not in the public interest to invoke the “constitutional jurisdiction of a high court in matters involving political content”, especially in cases where the law provides “alternative remedies”.
“The people of Pakistan, through their chosen representatives, have the will and resolve to safeguard the security of Pakistan. The security of Pakistan is surely not dependent on the issuance of a writ by this court,” the verdict read.
The IHC verdict, which was reserved earlier on Monday, said that the petitioner argued that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had banned speeches delivered by individuals who were declared as absconders in a case.
“Taking this argument into account, the court said that the petitioner “could not give a plausible explanation for invoking the jurisdiction of this court when an alternate remedy was available” to them,” said the article on The Dawn.
The petitioner had also expressed concern that the country’s security was being “threatened”, the five-page verdict noted. The court, however, dismissed this argument in its ruling, saying that “the security of Pakistan is not frail nor can be threatened by mere political rhetoric”. According to the verdict, the petitioner’s concerns about the country’s security were “misconceived”.
A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the case of criminal conspiracy for the “provocative speeches” he made in London to “defame Pakistan’s institutions”
The FIR was lodged against Sharif on October 1 by a local in the Shahdra Police Station’s jurisdiction.
Earlier this month, Pakistan failed to execute a non-bailable arrest warrant against Sharif, who was granted permission to fly abroad to get medical treatment in November last year.
For nearly one month, the Pakistan government made several attempts to get Sharif’s arrest warrant signed.
Last week, the IHC had slammed Sharif over his failure to appear before the court after he was granted permission to fly abroad for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan had tasked relevant authorities to bring back Sharif at the earliest. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting where the Prime Minister also issued the directive to pursue the matter vigorously.
A cabinet member had told Dawn the government had already sent a request to the British government for the repatriation of Nawaz but it would now send a fresh application.
Last month, the IHC came down heavily on the Imran Khan-led government for allowing Sharif to go abroad without informing the court and it was up to the dispensation to take steps for ensuring the latter’s return to the country.