The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday indefinitely postponed the hearing on the contempt of court plea filed by the Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) against Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaulllah over his July 18 statement, in which he claimied that five PTI MPs could “disappear” during the voting for Punjab’s chief minister being held on July 22.
The PML-Q’s complaint against Rana Sana was heard by the two-member bench of the highest court, which was presided over by Justice Ijazul Ahsan. Justice Ijaz noted that if these MPAs were taken away by the state, it would be a “criminal offence,” and only then could this be declared “contempt of court,” and not before, the interior minister’s statement that five members of the Punjab Assembly (MPAs) could vanish before the election for the Punjab chief minister on July 22, 2022.
He asked, “Please tell us how we might label it ‘contempt of court,’” adding that the court could not impose punishment based solely on presumptions. “How can we accept that Rana Sana threatened the PTI MPAs and promised them money at the same time?” Judge Ijaz enquired, and in the same breath made it clear that the SC had an eye on any breach of the law. To a question by Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Faisal Chaudhry Advocate, representing the PTI in the case, replied that the original copies of the ‘affidavits’ submitted by the party’s MPAs in which they had accused the minister of hurling threats at them and also offering them money were in Lahore. No date was mentioned in any of these affidavits, according to Justice Muneeb, as to when these calls were received. In addition, Justice Ijaz requested that the court take suo moto notice of Ataullah Tarar’s words after asking the PTI’s attorney why his party had not filed a contempt of court petition against Tarar, the Punjab Home Minister. The court, however, informed him that it was solely within the chief justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) purview. Later, the court postponed the case’s hearing for an extended amount of time.