SC demonstrated immense patience in Nehal Hashmi’s case: former CJP

Iftikhar Chaudhry said Hashmi exceeded all limits in his anti-judiciary speech


ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said on Friday that the Supreme Court demonstrated immense patience in the case of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nehal Hashmi.

The apex court on Thursday announced its verdict in the contempt case of Senator Nehal Hashmi, sentencing him to one-month imprisonment and Rs50,000 fine. The court also ruled that Hashmi stood disqualified from holding public office for a period of five years under Article 63 (1)(g) of the constitution.

While speaking on Geo News show Naya Pakistan on Friday, the former chief justice said Hashmi exceeded all limits in his speech and he passed incendiary remarks regarding those investigating the Panama case against the Sharif family.

But the apex court had a principle in which it tried not to readily put someone behind bars, Iftikhar Chaudhry added.

He said the court would instead issue a contempt of court notice in order to alert the person on what the consequences of their acts could be.

Hashmi was issued a contempt of court notice in July 2017.

According to the former chief justice, a remedy was available to help one out of such situations. “If the person [concerned] files an appeal, they would get relief,” Iftikhar Chaudhry said, adding the only purpose is “to teach a lesson”.

The former chief justice said expletives in a speech did not solely mean using abusing language, as an insulting remark or gesture would also fit the definition of an expletive in this case.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s disqualification of Hashmi, Iftikhar Chaudhry said when such remarks are made against an institution then the latter would have to show its authority.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justices Dost Mohammad and Maqbool Baqar announced the 2-1 decision in Hashmi's case. A dissenting note was authored by Justice Dost.

Following the order, Hashmi was taken into police custody by officials present in court. He was taken to the Secretariat Police Station and later shifted to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.

'We will observe your day of judgment'

Hashmi, in a speech to workers in Karachi at a Youm-e-Takbeer event which surfaced on May 31, had threatened the prime minister's unidentified 'enemies'.

"The one you are investigating is the PM's son," roared Hashmi.

Without identifying who he was referring to, Hashmi said, “You will not be spared; you are in service now but remember you will retire tomorrow.”

"Those investigating us [must know] we will observe your day of judgment,” he stated further.

Soon after the video emerged, Hashmi was stripped of his party membership and was made to resign from his Senate seat too. However, the resignation was later retracted by Hashmi.

The apex court in its suo motu notification taken the next day mentioned the quotes by the senator and stated: “That by the way of the aforesaid speech you threatened judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan their families and children and members of the [Panama case] JIT and their families and children.”