Pakistan media watchdog ordered to monitor 'anti-judiciary' speeches

Pakistan media watchdog ordered to monitor 'anti-judiciary' speeches

A Pakistani high court has banned TV stations from airing alleged anti-judiciary speeches of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other party leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the next 15 days. This gave impression that permission was given for broadcasting anti-judiciary speeches, he stated.

The Avenfield properties reference is among three cases filed against Nawaz and his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) previous year on the Supreme Court's directives, which also disqualified Nawaz Sharif as premier and party head.

The court referred the petitions to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday to decide the cases within 15 days and until that time refrained news channels from airing any contemptuous remarks.

When the court asked the regulatory body why it had dismissed the petitions, Pemra's counsel Salman Akram Raja said the allegations against the government agency were baseless.

The counsel insisted it appeared that the bench has already made up its mind about the outcome of the case.

"A person dissatisfied at a verdict should file a review petition", he added. "Instead of taking action, Pemra sought advice from judiciary".

Plaintiff's lawyer Azhar Siddiq Advocate argued that the anti-judiciary speeches of Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz are being on-aired on television channels that comes under contempt of court.

Subsequently, the court directed PEMRA to strictly monitor the speeches.

The political future of Sharif, who leads the country's most powerful political family and his party (PML-N), has been hanging in the balance since then.

The Supreme Court, however, dismissed multiple contempt of court petitions against the ousted prime minister last month, saying on one occasion: "Commenting cleanly on a [court] decision is the right of every citizen".

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