General

‘I’ve been made a victim of revenge,’ says Nehal Hashmi upon release from Adiala Jail

Former senator Nehal Hashmi was released from Adiala Jail on Wednesday after completing his one-month sentence handed to him by the Supreme Court (SC) over contempt of court.
Supporters gathered outside Adiala Jail and showered him with rose petals.
Speaking to the media after being released, Hashmi said he was a victim of revenge as his appeal against the verdict has not been heard even after his sentence has ended.
“This is the height of oppression,” a charged Hashmi said outside Adiala Jail. “This is the state of this country.”
He said that prisons were filled with “75-year-old men, people who needed bypass surgery and those targeted by NAB (National Accountability Bureau)”.
“Conspirators! Nothing is in your hands,” he railed. He called for action against NAB which he claimed was the “most corrupt institution in the country”.
“Who are you holding accountable? And who are you anyway? I stand by what I said [earlier],” he said.
On being asked if he was “ashamed” of his statement that landed him in jail, Hashmi declared that only a “fraud, thief or a person who took undue advantage of power would be embarrassed”.
“A firebrand speaker”
Last year Hashmi had lashed out at the judiciary for investigating former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in the Panama Papers case.
“Those who are scrutinising them [Sharif and his sons], we will not spare you,” he had warned.
He was expelled from the PML-N following his speech and Sharif demanded the former senator to resign from his seat in Senate.
Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb later said that the party does not support what Hashmi said and that it was his “personal opinion”.
Explaining his outburst in the Senate, Hashmi said he had expressed his personal views at a gathering of party workers. He pointed out that he had not named anyone in the speech.
The SC had taken notice of Hashmi’s remarks against the judiciary. A three-member SC bench — headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Dost Mohammad — on February 1 had sentenced Hashmi to one month in prison and Rs50,000 after finding him guilty of contempt of court.
He was also barred from holding public office for the next five years.
Further, the bench had dismissed an unconditional apology, which Hashmi had submitted to the court on January 24 for his threatening video message against “those investigating” former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
The detailed judgement of the case — written by Justice Khosa and agreed to by Justice Shah — said: “[Hashmi] is a firebrand speaker and the tone, the pitch and the delivery of the offending words bear an ample testimony to that but unfortunately on that day he had spewed fire towards a wrong direction.
“He attacked the judiciary, the judges and those who were tasked by this Court to investigate some allegations of criminal conduct on the part of the respondent’s political leader, his family and others.”
Justice Mohammad had not shared his opinion “for purely personal reasons”.