Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SC accepts Nehal Hashmi's apology, wraps up contempt hearing

PML-N leader Hashmi is facing contempt proceedings in apex court once again over his controversial remarks


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar accepted on Tuesday the apology of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nehal Hashmi. 

A three-member bench accepted the apology after conducting proceedings today and then wrapped up the contempt of court case hearing against him. 

Hashmi's apology came after representatives and leaders of bar associations pleaded the Supreme Court on Tuesday to show kindness and forgive Hashmi, a member of the bar and disqualified senator. 

In his apology, Hashmi said he accepts what the bar leaders have said and asked for forgiveness and mercy from the court. "I will never say anything regarding you [chief justice] anywhere," he assured the Supreme Court.  

As proceedings began, lawyers' leader Rasheed A Rizvi requested the court to briefly adjourned the hearing as several lawyers’ leaders are present and will consult and inform the court of their opinion on how to proceed with the case.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Pir Khurshid Kaleem was also present in court. On seeing him, the chief justice remarked, "you are the pir [spiritual leader] of your area and ours as well".

The hearing was then adjourned until 1pm.

As proceedings resumed, the bar leaders asked the court to show magnanimity and termed Hashmi’s statements condemnable. 

"We are thankful to the court for taking our input," said the SCBA president, adding that if they cannot safeguard state institutions then it is their failure. 

Pakistan Bar Counsil Vice Chairman Kamran Murtaza, who withdrew his representation from defending Hashmi earlier, said had these words been used for someone else they still would not have defended them.

During the hearing, Rizvi informed the court that Hashmi's licence to practice law has been cancelled for three months by the Sindh bar. 

The court, however, then directed Hashmi to submit a written apology. 

At the last hearing of the case yesterday, the court had replayed a video clip of Hashmi's controversial remarks against the judiciary.

In response to Hashmi's plea for forgiveness, the chief justice had remarked, "how can you appeal for leniency," adding that if he [chief justice] was in Hashmi's place, he would have drowned in shame.

The court had then summoned bar representatives to give their input on how to proceed with the matter of cancelling Hashmi's licence to practice law. 

Hashmi, a former senator, was jailed for a month and disqualified for five years by the apex court on February 1 over his contemptuous remarks made last year. 

Later, the former senator landed in hot water again as the court took notice of his controversial media talk after his release from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi. A visibly charged Hashmi had said he was made a victim of revenge for standing by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

After initially denying to have made the statements, the PML-N leader had said he was ashamed.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had termed regrettable the remarks uttered by Hashmi for judges 

In May last year during the height of the Panama Papers case against Nawaz, Hashmi, in a speech in Karachi, had threatened the 'enemies of the prime minister'.