Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that recent actions by the top judiciary indicate that a regime worse than a martial law has been imposed across Pakistan.
Speaking to reporters inside the accountability court in Islamabad, Sharif claimed: "What is prevalent in the country is not democracy, but the worst kind of dictatorship under [Chief Justice Mian] Saqib Nisar."
"What is happening in the country is not less than a 'judicial martial law'," said the former prime minister, who returned from London late on Sunday after seeing his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who has been undergoing cancer treatment there.
Criticising recent judgements by the courts as "illogical", Sharif said the "silencing" of 220 million people of Pakistan would not be acceptable to him.
"These many restrictions were not even imposed during the martial laws that we are seeing today," he remarked.
The former premier claimed serious efforts are being made to convict him in the corruption references being heard by the accountability court, which he said were an attempt "to validate the five judges" — a reference to the five-member SC bench which had disqualified him last year in the Panama Papers case.
Directing his criticism at the CJP once again, Sharif said Justice Nisar visits hospitals regularly and talks about vegetable prices, but "he should also visit the home of an oppressed person whose case hasn't been decided for 20 years".
"It is not your job to summon the chief minister and make the government stand in the line," he said, addressing the CJP.
The Supreme Court, under its 2018 agenda, is focusing on human rights issues, particularly those relating to the people’s right to quality education and healthcare. However, this course of action is also being seen as an overstepping of boundaries by the apex court, similar to the Iftikhar Chaudhry era.
However, the chief justice has stood by the court's actions, reiterating that such criticism will not deter him from exercising what he considers is his "constitutional right".
Sirjaul Haq's remarks about Senate elections 'meaningful'
Referring to the remarks by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) emir Senator Sirjaul Haq about the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) voting for Sadiq Sanjrani during the Senate elections following an “order from the top”, Sharif said the revelation was "meaningful".
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has reprimanded his party's MPAs who allegedly engaged in horsetrading, but he should open himself to criticism as well for voting on somebody's instructions, Sharif said.
"Will Imran Khan also answer the nation about how Chaudhry Sarwar managed to get votes [in Punjab]?" he questioned.
"Will Imran Khan assure the nation that he did not vote for the arrow?" he asked, referring to PPP's symbol.
The hearing of the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference could not be held today due to an apparent confusion about recording the testimony of Wajid Zia, the head of the SC-sanctioned joint investigation team. The hearing of the case was adjourned until Tuesday, and Sharif and his daughter Maryam were allowed to leave by the court.