ISLAMABAD: In a major dose of snub to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Supreme Court on Thursday compared the federal government to the notorious Sicilian Mafia of Italy as it decided to initiate contempt of court proceedings against former party leader and senator Nehal Hashmi for ‘threatening’ judges and members of the joint investigation team probing Sharif family’s business dealings abroad. Issuing a show-cause notice to Hashmi, the top court observed that the person issuing threats to judges and the JIT was a sitting member of the Upper House who also held a senior position in the party in Sindh but the government remained silent for two days over his remarks. In a video clip, which went viral on social media, Hashmi had said, “Listen! You ask son of Nawaz Sharif to submit his account details. Who are you to seek his account details? We are the workers of Nawaz Sharif. We will make an example of those who are trying to hold him accountable.” As the hearing started, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan asked the attorney general, “Are you aware of what is going on around you? How the courts are being commented upon. It seems that government’s self-proclaimed spokespersons are leaving no opportunity to malign judiciary.” “Whatever decision we give, we are not scarred of and we can’t be scarred of any consequences as we make every decision justly and fairly,” Justice Khan remarked. To a controversy over reported WhatsApp calls from Registrar Office to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chief regarding nomination of members for the JIT, Justice Khan said that they had asked the registrar to pick such and such names for the JIT. “After all, we are human beings. We are not angels,” Justice Khan observed. “But we see things are being blown out of proportion and being exaggerated … and we know what to do,” he remarked. The AGP said that during the Panama case hearing, he had requested the court to debar ‘out-of-court trial’, a reference to media debates on sub-judice matters. However, Justice Sheikh Azamt Saeed, another member of the bench, snubbed AGP and remarked that it was his government that was making noise. “Judges have witnessed worst dictatorships and suffered November 3, 2007, like situation as well. But even then, judges and their children did not receive threats as the incumbent government was hurling at them and their children,” he said and asked the AGP as to who used to give threats to children. To this, the AGP replied that cowards give threats to children. Justice Saeed addressing the AGP remarked, “Not cowards but the terrorists.” “Congratulations! Your government has joined the ranks of terrorists. It is behaving like Sicilian Mafia.” Justice Ijazul Ahsan, another member of the bench, told AGP that not only Hashmi but members of cabinet and government spokespersons also seemed to have started a systematic smear campaign against superior judiciary. Meanwhile, Nehal Hashmi, with shivering nerves, told the bench that he was fasting and that he didn’t even dreamt of referring to judges in such a way. The court, however, did not allow him to speak and directed him to submit his written reply on Monday. Justice Khan observed that they would compare his reply with the speech. The court also appointed AGP Ashtar Ausaf as prosecutor in the case and directed him to collect material pertaining to the contemptuous speech and assist the court on criminal prosecution under Pakistan Penal Code. The hearing was adjourned for June 5 (Monday).