The Supreme Court on Thursday issued its detailed judgement in Senator Nehal Hashmi's contempt of court case.
Earlier in the day, the bench — headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Dost Mohammad — sentenced Hashmi to one-month imprisonment, barred him from holding public office for the next five years, and imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on the senator.
In May 2017, as a Supreme Court-mandated joint investigation team was probing the Sharif family's business dealings in the Panama Papers case, Hashmi had warned that those conducting the investigation would be "taken to task" for grilling the premier's family. The video of Hashmi's remarks had gone viral on social media and was also aired on news channels.
On May 31, the apex court had taken notice of Hashmi's anti-judiciary speech.
Following are some excerpts from the written judgement — penned by Justice Khosa and agreed to by Justice Shah — in the contempt of court case. It should be noted that Justice Mohammad has abstained from sharing his opinion "for purely personal reasons".
"If the Judges of this Court were weaklings or feeble at heart and if they could be frightened or browbeaten by verbal assaults or naked threats, then the respondent namely Senator Nehal Hashmi had surely made a valiant attempt at that. It, however, appears that he and those he wanted to obey or please are poor judges of men."
"An extract from that speech made by the respondent on that occasion is reproduced below:
And listen! Those who are scrutinising us, he is Nawaz Sharif's son, but we are Nawaz Sharif's workers. Those grilling [the Sharif family] ... [be warned that] we will arrange the day of judgment for you. Whoever has scrutinised and those who are doing so, listen with your ears open [that] we are not going to spare you. Today you are serving, tomorrow you will retire. We will constrict the Pakistani soil for your children and family. You are making life difficult for Pakistan's conscientious and ethical Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani nation will make things difficult for you. And those residing in Bani Gala [listen], this building which is the Model Town house, this is a house [made from] blood and sweat... it hasn't been constructed from Jewish capital. This hasn't been constructed from Jemima's wealth, this is the home of Mohammad Sharif, constructed from the money of a working man. And this nation will also constrict the land for you."
"As the respondent has decided not to contest these proceedings and has submitted an unconditional apology, therefore, the first question to be answered is as to whether he has committed contempt of this Court or not. Through the relevant speech made by him on 28.05.2017, the respondent had established that he is a firebrand speaker and the tone, the pitch and the delivery of the offending words bear an ample testimony to that but unfortunately on that day he had spewed fire towards a wrong direction.
"He attacked the judiciary, the judges and those who were tasked by this Court to investigate some allegations of criminal conduct on the part of the respondent’s political leader, his family and others.
"He launched a verbal tirade and issued naked threats which he now himself realizes to be improper, unwise and imprudent. The offending words uttered by the respondent in the relevant speech, which words are admitted and not denied by him, were nothing but an effort to obstruct, interfere with and prejudice the proceedings pending before this Court and before the Joint Investigation Team working under the direct command and supervision of this Court in the Panama Papers case.
"It is not open to any manner of doubt that the offending words uttered by the respondent in public were meant to interfere with, obstruct and prejudice the process of law, justice and this Court and were also intended to bring the authority of this Court and administration of law into disrespect, disrepute or hatred within the meanings of section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (Ordinance No. V of 2003) and Article 204 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.
"The manner in which the respondent had acted on the occasion was surely prejudicial to the integrity and independence of the judiciary of Pakistan as a whole as it had defamed and brought it into ridicule.
"While adverting to the provisions of section 18 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (Ordinance No. V of 2003), we have felt satisfied that the contempt committed by the respondent is quite grave and is one which is substantially detrimental to the administration of justice besides tending to bring this Court and the Judges of this Court into disrespect and hatred.
"Section 5(2) of the said Ordinance dealing with submission of an apology by a person accused of having committed contempt of court does not envisage an automatic acceptance of the apology by the court but makes its acceptance subject to the court’s satisfaction about its bona fide.
"The belated apology submitted by the respondent after about seven months of commencement of these proceedings and at the fag end of such proceedings when the evidence of the prosecution has already been completely recorded and closed speaks volumes about the apology being an afterthought.
"The conduct of the respondent in this regard impinges upon bona fide of his apology and, thus, the same has not been found to be meriting acceptance. Such apology of the respondent may, however, have some bearing upon the sentence to be passed against him. In view of what has been observed above the respondent is held guilty of committing contempt of this Court as charged.
"Although the offending words publically uttered by the respondent, which words had received wide publicity nationally as well internationally, amounted to a grave contempt of this Court, yet there are some mitigating circumstances available warranting withholding the maximum sentence provided for the offence by the law.
"The respondent is about sixty years of age, he is an Advocate for the last about thirty years, he has submitted an unconditional apology though belatedly, he has thrown himself at the mercy of the Court and has decided not to contest these proceedings and upon his conviction for the offence of contempt of court he is to be visited with a disqualification under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution.
"For what has been discussed above, the respondent is convicted for the offence under section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (Ordinance No. V of 2003) read with Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and is sentenced under section 5(1) of the said Ordinance to simple imprisonment for one month and a fine of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only) or in default of payment thereof to undergo simple imprisonment for a further period of fifteen days. He is to be taken into custody and he shall be lodged in the Central Prison, Rawalpindi for serving his sentence.
"As the respondent has been convicted and sentenced by this Court for acting in a manner prejudicial to the integrity and independence of the judiciary of Pakistan and for defaming and bringing the judiciary into ridicule, therefore, by virtue of the law declared by this Court in the case of Muhammad Azhar Siddique and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774) with reference to Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 he ipso facto stands disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) for a period of five years from today.
"Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan for an immediate appropriate action in that respect."