ISLAMABAD:TheSupreme Court on Thursday sentenced Senator Nehal Hashmi to one-month imprisonment and barred him from holding public office for the next five years as it announced its verdict in the contempt of court case against the former PML-N stalwart.
A three-member bench ofthe apex court — headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Dost Mohammad — also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on the senator. Further, the bench dismissed an unconditional apology, which Hashmi had submitted to the court on January 24 for his threatening video message against “those investigating” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
As the verdict was announced, Hashmi was taken into custody by police from the courtroom and taken to Adiala Jail. A few hours after the verdict was announced, Hashmi filed an appeal against the judgment, saying that he has already issued an apology. He maintained that he “did not threaten anyone” in his May 2017 speech.
While Justice Khosa and Justice Shah are in agreement over the punishment announced against Hashmi, Justice Dost Mohammad has written a dissenting note in the case that is expected to be made available later in the day. 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 those conducting the investigation will 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. Hashmi’s controversial speech had landed him in hot water, as he was directed by his PML-N to tender his resignation from the Senate—which he later withdrew — while the party revoked his party membership.
On May 31, the apex court had taken notice of Hashmi’s anti-judiciary speech. Enraged by the senator’sincendiary remarks, the court, in one hearing of the case, had likened the government to the Sicilian mafia. A case was registered against the senator on June 4 at Karachi’s Bahadurabad police station under Sections 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 228 (intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding) and 505 (statements inciting public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code on behalf of the state after the attorney general asked the Sindh prosecutor general to initiate proceedings since the speech was made in Karachi. In July, Hashmi was charged with ‘contempt of court’ under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan, read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003.
The court had said at the time that Hashmi’s speech sought to “scandalise the court, bring the authority of the court into ridicule and disrespect.”