SC seeks lawyers’ help in deciding if Nehal Hashmi’s licence should be revoked

The Supreme Court on Monday asked senior lawyers to help decide whether the lawyer’s licence of PML-N loyalist Nehal Hashmi should be cancelled over his fresh outburst against the judiciary.

Hashmi, a former PML-N senator, was issued a second contempt of court notice by the SC and a first information report (FIR) was registered against him on court orders for his speech on February 28 targeting the judiciary. Hashmi made the speech after his release from Adiala Jail following a one-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

At the outset of Monday’s hearing, Hashmi once again sought to apologise for his remarks. He said he had not named the judiciary in his speech and only “repeated what the inmates [at Adiala Jail] used to say”.

The claim did not go down well with Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nasir, who ordered that Hashmi’s speech be played on a projector once again.

Addressing Hashmi, the CJP then asked whether the former senator could repeat the things he uttered against the judiciary for himself.

Examine: What qualifies as anti-judiciary speech?

When Hashmi pleaded once again that his attack was not directed at the judiciary, the CJP remarked that the accused was not apologetic and appeared to be lying before the court.

The CJP then summoned lawyers from Karachi present in the courtroom to the rostrum and directed them to decide after watching the video clip whether Hashmi’s licence should be revoked or not.

“If you say we should forgive him [Hashmi], we can do so conditionally,” Justice Nisar told the lawyers.

Senior lawyers Barrister Farogh Naseem and Rasheed A. Rizvi told the court that Hashmi’s remarks were not justifiable in any way.

Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) president Qalb Hussain said the court should have mercy on Hashmi as he had tendered an apology.

The CJP said the court will look into what room there was in the Constitution with regards to suspension of licences.

The court directed the presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council to appear before it on Tuesday to give their opinions.

A three-judge bench headed by CJP Nisar had taken exception to the fresh outburst of Hashmi, who was seen in a video clip uttering contemptuous words about judges of the superior judiciary after completing one-month jail term also for committing contempt of court.

On February 1, the Supreme Court had sent Hashmi to Adiala prison on contempt charges, eight months after his outburst on May 28, 2017 in which he appeared to have threatened the members of the apex court-appointed Joint Investigation Team and the judiciary for probing against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on allegations stemming from the Panama Papers case. The court awarded Hashmi one-month jail term with Rs50,000 fine and imprisonment for another 15 days in case he failed to pay the fine.

Witnesses summoned in Daniyal’s case

A separate SC bench today summoned two witnesses at the next hearing of the contempt case registered against PML-N leader and Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz.

The court had indicted Aziz for scandalising and bringing into hatred the judges of the top court earlier this month. The minister, however, pleaded not guilty.

The two witnesses summoned at the hearing on March 30 are a reporter of Dunya newspaper and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Director General Haji Adam.

Additional Attorney General Rana Waqar will be the prosecutor in the case, the bench revealed.

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