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Key parts of Nehal Hashmi speech been skipped by PEMRA: SC

25 July, 2017

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Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday expressed severe displeasure on learning that key parts of Senator Nehal Hashmi’s incendiary speech had been skipped in a transcript submitted as evidence in a contempt of court case against the Senator.

The transcript, CD recordings of the speech, and a list of television channels that aired the speech had been presented to the court by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Director General Haji Adam who appeared as a prosecution witness.

Reading the transcript, the judges noticed that something was amiss and asked that the recording of the speech be played before the bench.

After watching the recording, the bench was visibly irritated with the tampering of evidence. The bench noted that the Pemra DG had misled the court, as the material shown did not contain parts of the speech where the Senator was committing contempt of court.

Justice Azmat Saeed reminded the Pemra DG that he was appearing before the court as a witness. “You have taken an oath to say nothing but the truth before the court,” he said. The judge, then, asked the witness why the transcript of the version of the speech aired on ARY News was not attached to the material submitted before the SC.

In his defence, the Attorney General noted that no channel had shown the entire speech. “All channels aired different sections of the speech,” the AG said.

But the AG’s remarks failed to satisfy the bench. Castigating the Pemra DG, Justice Azmat Saeed told the AG, “We will send your witness to Adiala jail.”

Afterwards, the AG left the rostrum and refused to argue any further. He was told to return by Justice Ejaz Afzal after Justice Azmat Saeed retracted his words, saying that they were “uncalled for”.

Meanwhile, Hashmi’s counsel Hashmat Habib requested the court to allow him more time to submit another reply in the matter. He submitted that he sought to “clarify the circumstances under which Hashmi delivered his speech”.

Reminding the lawyer that he had already submitted a 27-page reply, the bench said it wondered if it should adjourn hearings till 2030, before eventually allowing him time to submit additional statements and directing him to ensure the presence of his witnesses. The hearing was eventually adjourned till August 21.

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