The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced Senator Nehal Hashmi to one-month imprisonment and barred him from holding public office for the next five years as it announced its verdict in the contempt of court case against the PML-N stalwart.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Dost Mohammad, also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the senator. Further, the bench dismissed an unconditional apology, which Hashmi had submitted to the court on January 24 for his threatening video message against “those investigating” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. Following the order of the court, Hashmi was taken into custody by police officials present in court and later was shifted to the Secretariat Police Station from where he was taken to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.
On May 28 last year, Hashmi triggered a political storm by threatening the members of the joint investigation team (JIT) and Supreme Court judges of “dire consequences” after their retirement for probing Sharif family in connection with Panama Papers case. After Nehal Hashmi’s remarks, his party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz distanced itself from him and termed his statements as his own decision that does not reflect the viewpoint of the party. In fact many senior leaders of party including federal information minister Maryam Aurangzeb condemned his act. Party also expelled him, soon after Supreme Court took suo motu action to hear case against Nehal Hashmi.
After court’s verdict of contempt of court against Nehal Hashmi, a debate has been initiated regarding this decision of court. Some are of the view that usually court forgives after one repeatedly apologizes but it was not the case against Nehal Hashmi. Others in the favour of this decision are terming the decision need of time in order to show authority of courts. As it is being observed that after court’s verdict in Panama Papers case PMLN has opted the policy of criticizing judiciary as leaders of PMLN are publically bashing the judges.
In every civilized society, courts function without threat, fear or pressure. But it is unfortunate that in our country few politicians, who often beat drums of democracy, in complete disregard of the law, are severely criticizing decisions of the court. It is hoped that criminal sentence of the former senator would make PML-N realize that there is certain line while criticizing the court that must not be crossed.