A disciplinary committee formed by PML-N heard on Friday Senator Nehal Hashmi’s statement concerning his incendiary speech last month about 'making life difficult' for 'those behind an accountability investigation' involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
The five-member committee, headed by Raja Zafrul Haq, heard Hashmi's position on the issue. The committee, constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, is required to compile its report recommending appropriate action against the suspended party member by June 11.
“My speech was taken out of context,” Hashmi claimed in a media statement after his session with the committee ended.
Read more: Supreme Court rages at Nehal Hashmi's threats, likens govt to Sicilian Mafia
“I told the committee that my speech was 14 minutes long, out of which a small clip was shared on media and social media. My statement was misinterpreted,” he reiterated.
Claiming to have met his party members after spending eight days in ‘isolation’, Hashmi said his target had actually been Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan, not the State's institutions or a Supreme Court-sanctioned Joint Investigation Team (JIT). However, media and social media had "twisted my words", he complained.
Hashmi, in his speech, had said: "Whoever has held [the prime minister's family to account] in the past, and whoever is holding them accountable now — open your ears and hear this: we will not let you go. You are in service today; tomorrow you will retire. We will make life in Pakistan difficult for your children and for your families."
Nehal Hashmi in a tight spot
His remarks were widely perceived to have been made in reference to a Supreme Court-sanctioned investigation into the Sharif family's business dealings abroad.
Hours after the senator's incendiary remarks made national headlines on May 31, DawnNews reported that Hashmi's membership of the PML-N had been suspended and a show-cause notice issued to him.
Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb later said the prime minister had also asked Hashmi to hand in his resignation from his Senate seat, which the Senate Secretariat received later the same evening.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had also taken suo motu notice of Hashmi's remarks and summoned him in person the next to appear before the bench implementing its Panama Papers verdict.
Issuing Hashmi a show-cause notice for maligning the judiciary and summoning him again on June 5, the court appointed Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf as prosecutor in the case and ordered him to compile relevant evidence in connection with Hashmi's recent outburst against judiciary.
"It seems that the government's self-proclaimed spokespersons let no opportunity for maligning the courts slip by," Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked during the proceedings.
"It is not our custom to bring our children into our fights," Justice Sheikh Azmat chimed in, referring to the senator's threats. "Mr Attorney General, what kind of people involve children in their fights?" he asked.
"The cowardly kind," offered AG Ausaf.
"No, not cowards — it is terrorists and the mafia who do such things," responded Justice Azmat.
"Congratulations Mr Attorney General: it seems that your government has joined the Sicilian Mafia," he added wryly.
"We have faced military dictatorships, but even they did not dare threaten our children," Justice Afzal said to the AG. "Our children are being threatened under your government," he observed.
"You stayed quiet for two days after Hashmi's speech and then sprung into action [once it made headlines] fearing the Supreme Court's retribution," he added.
"We constituted the joint investigation team (JIT) and we are not afraid of any type of consequences," Justice Ejaz Afzal had said.
In the June 5 hearing, the Supreme Court gave Hashmi until June 16 to submit his reply to the apex court.
A day earlier, Karachi police had registered a case against Hashmi over charges of using threatening language against the judiciary, public servants and disrupting judicial proceedings. There were speculations that the senator would be arrested if his resignation was accepted.
The next day, Hashmi withdrew his resignation from the Senate after a meeting with chairman Raza Rabbani.
Explore: Rabbani accepts withdrawal of Hashmi's Senate resignation
Rabbani on Wednesday accepted the withdrawal Hashmi's resignation from the Upper House of Parliament, despite some PML-N lawmakers' opposition to the move.