PML-N is under fire yet again as Talal Chaudhry just got disqualified from contesting elections for five years. He has served as the Minister of State for Interior, in Abbasi’s cabinet from August 2017 to May 2018. He was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, from June 2013 to May 2018. Chaudhry had vied for a National Assembly seat from NA-102 (Faisalabad-II) in last week’s general election but lost to a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate. This judgment against him is very much similar to the one against PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz, who was also held in contempt of court in June 2018.
Chaudhry was disqualified on the basis Artice 63(1)(g) of the constitution, which states the following regarding disqualification from parliament. A person shall be disqualified if:
he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release; or
So what did Talal Chaudhry say? Here is a quick timeline of all that has happened till today’s judgment.
1) January 2018: Chaudhry made some questionable remarks in his speech at a PML-N rally in Jarranwala. He is recorded as having said that “there was an era when the Kaabah was full of idols. Today, the judiciary, which is the country’s highest institution, is also full of PCO [Provisional Constitution Order] idols.” He also said that despite Sharif — the PML-N head — doing so much for the country, “They say that somebody else should become the prime minister.” His passionate speech certainly landed him in troubled waters with the judiciary.
2) February 2018: The Chief Justice took suo moto notice of Chaudhry’s “contemptuous speech” on February 1st. On February 6th, Chaudhry appeared before the bench to request additional time to find himself a lawyer. The bench dismissed his request and ordered him to file a response by February 13th.
2) March 2018: The Supreme Court indicted Talal Chaudhry for allegedly committing contempt of court.
4) July 2018: The Apex Court after hearing Chaudhry’s case, reserved its judgment in the case.
5) August 2018: The court just sentenced Chaudhry till the rising of the court — a punishment that carries an automatic five-year disqualification under Article 63 (1)(g) of the Constitution.
Several members of PML-N have been on a tirade of anti-judiciary remarks since the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case. These include PML-N members such as Daniyal Aziz and Nehal Hashmi. One thing is for sure, the horizon isn’t getting any clearer for PML-N anytime soon. The troubled party just continues to get more troubled with each day we get closer to an official ‘Naya Pakistan’.