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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday issued notices to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) as it heard a petition accusing the prime minister of delivering an “anti-judiciary” speech in Sialkot.

Advocate Azhar Siddiqi filed the petition stating that PM Abbasi had termed the Panama Papers decision a piece of trash. Mr Siddiqi argued that this amounted to committing contempt of court. Presenting his case in the court of Justice Shahid Kareem, the petitioner said that by making such an inflammatory statement, the PM was trying to make the judiciary controversial.

He said that earlier ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam had openly criticised the apex court and its judges in their speeches, and tried to whip up public sentiment against the judiciary. He said that now PM Abbasi had also started raging against the apex court, in violation of the oath he took when he assumed the office of prime minister.

He requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against PM Abbasi and said that Pemra should be directed to stop news channels from airing the prime minister’s speeches targeting the judiciary.

The court issued notices to PM Abbasi, the federal government and Pemra and sought their replies by the next hearing scheduled for Jan 15.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018