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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday indicted outspoken Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz for scandalising and bringing into hatred the judges of the top court. Daniyal Aziz, however, pleaded not guilty.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had initiated the contempt proceedings under the Contempt of the Court Ordinance 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution, against the minister for making derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements against the apex court which were also telecast by different television channels.

Daniyal Aziz, Minister of State for Interior Tallal Chaudhry and PML-N loyalist and former senator Nehal Hashmi are facing contempt charges initiated against them on a suo motu by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Mr Aziz is the first PML-N minister to be indicted for contempt of court. The charges against him read out by Justice Mushir Alam stated that the federal minister, while addressing a press conference on Sept 8 last year, had accused Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan of summoning the NAB authorities in Lahore for preparing corruption references against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Federal minister pleads not guilty

Justice Ahsan was appointed monitoring judge by the Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017 judgement to oversee proceedings of the accountability court seized with the corruption references.

Likewise, the charges said, in a statement on Dec 15 last year, Mr Aziz had alleged that the Supreme Court verdict on PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan was scripted and meant only to protect both Mr Khan and the PTI by disqualifying its secretary general Jahangir Tareen.

The Supreme Court had dismissed the petition against Mr Khan.

Similarly, on Dec 21 last year, the minister had hurled accusations against Justice Ahsan by demanding that he had to tell the nation who confided him about the Capital FZE.

Daniyal Aziz signed the charges after hearing and reading the same and said he had understood the charges.

The court then directed the prosecution to provide a list of witnesses and evidence against the minister and said the witnesses should be from the Press Information Department and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.

The hearing was postponed to March 26.

The contempt charges against Tallal Chaudhry will be framed on March 14. Nehal Hashmi, who had already completed his one-month imprisonment, will be indicted on March 26 in another contempt of court case.

Meanwhile, a different bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar disposed of different long pending petitions seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif, Yousuf Raza Gilani and Benazir Bhutto, Nayyer Bokhari, etc.

However, on the instance of petitioner Hashmat Habib, the court decided to fix for hearing the contempt case against Imran Khan.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2018