Petition seeks ban on live speeches of Nawaz Sharif, initiation of criminal proceedings over his Mumbai attack remarks

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The High Court of Islamabad has admitted a petition which seeks a ban on live speeches of ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The petition also calls for initiating criminal proceedings against Nawaz over his remarks on Mumbai attacks. 

According to a report in the Dawn, Justice Aamer Farooq sought reply from the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), chairmen Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the petition filed by a local lawyer through Advocate Babar Awan, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Arguing before the court, Mr Awan said the statement of Mr Sharif amounted to disrespect for the Constitution and treason. Justice Farooq asked whether the court could impose a ban on someone making speeches.

In reply, the counsel said there was a precedent as the Lahore High Court (LHC) had already banned broadcasting of speeches by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain.

The petition requested the court to direct the FIA to initiate legal proceedings against Mr Sharif after registering an FIR.

However Sharif defended his defended his remarks asking, “What did I say that was wrong in the interview?”

Nawaz, while talking to reporters outside an accountability court in Islamabad, read excerpts from his  interview with The Dawn during which he spoke on matters related to the country’s foreign policy.

“Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” he had asked in the interview, referring to the Mumbai attacks-related trial proceedings which have stalled in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

A report in the Dawn said that soon after the publication of Nawaz’s interview on Saturday, the Indian media blew up his remarks, terming   it an ‘admission’ on part of the former prime minister about Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Subsequently, the party issued a clarification on Sunday, saying that the Indian media had “grossly misinterpreted” Nawaz’s remarks.

The army, also on Sunday, had ‘suggested’ to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to convene a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), the country’s top civil-military body, to “discuss misleading media statement regarding Bombay incident”. The NSC meeting was held today in Islamabad.

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