FIR against Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan for 'supporting' India

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Lahore Police has registered an FIR against Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and several other members of his party PML-N for 'supporting' India, a report in the local media has said.

The FIR was registered on Monday by the Shahdara police station in Lahore on the basis of a complaint by a Badar Rasheed, who has alleged that "Nawaz is carrying out a planned conspiracy to defame Pakistan and its institutions by making inflammatory speeches", Pakistani news website Dawn reported.

According to the report, the complainant has alleged that Nawaz Sharif supported Indian policies during his speeches on September 20 and October 1, "so that Pakistan would continue to remain on the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) 'grey list'."

In a televised speech on Thursday, Nawaz Sharif had alleged that the Pak military had rigged the 2018 vote that brought the country's current prime minister to power.

"The main purpose of Nawaz's speeches is to isolate Pakistan in front of the international community and to declare it a rogue state," the complainant was quoted as saying.

Pak news channel broadcasting Nawaz Sharif's speech on September 20 (AP photo)

The case against Nawaz Sharif has been registered under various provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code against cyberterrorism, criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan, sedition, etc, the report said.

According to the report, the FIR also reportedly names PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rashid, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ataullah Tarar and others that participated in the PML-N's Central Executive Committee and Central Working Committee meetings held last week.

The FIR came on the day a Pakistani court in Islamabad rejected a plea seeking a ban on the broadcast of the speeches made by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against the Pakistan Army, saying courts should not be unnecessarily dragged to decide such matters.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah in his four-page order said the petitioner could not satisfy the court regarding which of his rights were being affected by the matter.

“These kinds of issues unnecessarily dragged courts into matters of conflict and there was an alternate forum for the redressal of these issues,” Justice Minallah said.

The court also rejected the contention that the issue was a matter of public interest.

A Pakistani citizen on October 3 filed a petition in the IHC, seeking a ban on the airing of speeches of Sharif and party president Shehbaz Sharif on television channels against Prime Minister Imran Khan's government and the Pakistan Army.

In a decision taken last week, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned the broadcast and rebroadcast of any speech, interview or public address of absconders or proclaimed offenders, days after former prime minister Sharif made blistering speeches from exile in London targeting the powerful Pakistani Army.

After the court hearing on Monday, Justice Minallah also ruled that the complainant could not satisfy the court regarding which of his rights were being affected by the matter.

Nawaz Sharif served as Pakistan's prime minister three times, first removed by a president in 1993, then by military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

A court in 2017 ousted him from power over corruption allegations. Imran Khan, a former cricketer, came to power in 2018.

Nawaz Sharif spoke from London, where he has been since last November when he was released on bail to seek medical treatment abroad. At the time, a court permitted Nawaz Sharif to leave the country for four weeks, but he did not return.

A court last month issued arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif, previously sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and money laundering charges stemming from disclosures in the Panama Papers.

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