ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday indicted State Interior Minister Tallal Chaudhry in a case regarding anti-judiciary speeches.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan took up the case against the minister following his contemptuous speeches against the judiciary during the public gatherings of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to charge sheet provided to Chaudhry’s counsel, the minister has been indicted on his speeches made on September 24 and 27, 2017.

Tallal Chaudhry, who was present in the court while charge sheet was read, pleaded not guilty to charges.

As the hearing began, counsel for Chaudhry filed a plea with the court, seeking restraint in his case as it was shown the contempt cases against Railway Minister Saad Rafique and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The apex court on Wednesday dismissed a slew of contempt of court petitions filed by leader of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s political party against the embattled Nawaz Sharif and Khawaja Saad Rafique.

SC strikes down another contempt petition against Nawaz, ministers

The counsel for the state minister asked the court to defer the indictment until the detailed judgment in the Sharif contempt case is issued.

The counsel said that indictment was a stain, to which, Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that the case could be dismissed even after the indictment if not proved.

However, the court adjourned the case until March 27.

On Wednesday, the apex court postponed indictment of the state minister in the contempt case for one day on his counsel’s request.

Chaudry appeared before the court and pleaded the court to hear his arguments before the indictment, to which, Justice Ejaz remarked that the accused can plead his case after framing of charges. The judge added that they did not want to waste their time.

Kamran Murtaza, counsel for PML-N leader, argued that the court had shown leniency in such case in the past.

Justice Maqbool Baqar observed that the case was not about disrespecting an individual but an institution.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing for a day after the counsel informed the bench that he has to attend a funeral today.

Chaudry has been provided a copy of the charge-sheet and will frame the charges tomorrow (Thursday).

On Feb 1, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the anti-judiciary speeches by PML-N leader Tallal Chaudhry.

The case was initiated after Chaudhry was seen launching a tirade against judiciary at the ruling party’s recent rally in Jaranwala where PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz also criticised Supreme Court and judges.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court formally indicted Federal Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz in a case regarding anti-judiciary speeches.