SC disqualifies Senator Nehal Hashmi, orders one-month jail term for contempt

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered a one-month imprisonment sentence and Rs50,000 fine as it convicted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Nehal Hashmi for contempt of court.

The court also ruled that Hashmi stands disqualified from holding public office for a period of five years according to Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justices Dost Mohammad and Maqbool Baqar gave the decision today in a 2-1 order with Justice Dost authoring a dissenting note.

Following the order, Hashmi was taken into custody by police officials present in court and shifted to the Secretariat Police Station from where he’ll be taken to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.

Senior lawyer Farogh Naseem told media after the incident that Hashmi retains the right to appeal the decision before a larger bench.

Meanwhile, former attorney general Irfan Qadir said it is an “unusual decision”. He added that “nothing is automatic”, when asked if Hashmi is now a disqualified parliamentarian.

State Interior Minister Tallal Chauhdry regretted the decision. Talking to media, he questioned if others who committed contempt will be brought to book or is the PML-N the only target. “You cannot force respect through fear,” he added.

Decision as per law: CJP

Meanwhile, hearing the Article 62 disqualification duration case separately, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the decision in the Hashmi case is as per the law.

He was responding to one of the petitioners’ counsel’s statement that the Hashmi verdict has upset him.

‘Mercy of court’

During the height of the Panama Papers saga, Hashmi, in a speech to workers in Karachi in May last year, had threatened the prime minister’s unidentified ‘enemies’.

Taking notice of the issue the next day, the Supreme Court had served him a contempt notice for his controversial remarks, reportedly aimed at the apex court and Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team.
On January 24, Hashmi had left himself at the mercy of the apex court after submitting an unconditional apology. Hashmi’s counsel Kamran Murtaza had submitted the apology following which the decision on the case was reserved.
As the hearing went under way on Jan 24, the Supreme Court objected to Hashmi’s apology, in which he stated that he respects the court and is ready to sacrifice his life for it.
Justice Khosa remarked that “you were going to make our life miserable on earth [as per your speech]”, adding that “whatever you say to us is fine but you mentioned our children as well”.
In July last year, Hashmi was charged for contempt of court following his controversial remarks.

‘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.”