IHC restrains police from lodging blasphemy cases against PTI leadership over Masjid-i-Nabwi incident – Pakistan


The Supreme Court of Islamabad (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday stopped police from filing criminal charges against the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) over the Masjid-i-Nabwi incident, insisting that “religion should not be politically motivated.”

He made the remarks while the court resumed hearing a petition filed by PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry stating that cases registered against members of the organization under the country’s blasphemy laws had been declared “illegal”.

The cases were registered against a number of previous administrations – including Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry, Qasim Suri and Shahbaz Gill – after some Pakistani pilgrims sang slogans to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his entourage during their visit to Masjid-i. -Nabwi last month.

During a court hearing today, Justice Minallah stated: “Registering for debt for your own benefit is a violation of your identity. It is a gross violation of human rights.”

He recognized that it was the government’s responsibility to bring about a climate of patience and stability in the country. “If there is no patience, things like this (registration cases) will happen, wrong. Anything that happens is wrong.”

“Obviously, it seems that the cases registered in Pakistan were not justified,” he said.

The chief judge of the IHC stated that religious sentiments are important but that the government is responsible. Whether the government did such a thing or not, the truth is that in the past, lives were at stake, he recalls, giving examples of the Sialkot incident – in which a Sri Lankan citizen was accused of blasphemy – and the Mashal Khan case. .

The judge continued, with the government’s responsibility to oversee these matters. Justice Minallah emphasized that the government should mobilize all leadership and decide that religion should not be used as a “political tool”. “We are already suffering terribly,” he said.

Meanwhile, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry, who was present at the hearing, said the cases should have been taken to the cabinet. “It should be the government’s commitment never to use a religious card,” Chaudhry said. “This is the first time in the history of Pakistan.”

But Justice Minallah has intervened if such things had happened before.

During this time, the deputy attorney general indicated that the applications had been lodged by “private citizens”, adding that he was expressing public sentiment about the Medina incident.

Have they become so overwhelmed with emotion that they all make the same request? Fawad asked, adding that legislation on the matter was “very clear”.

Afterwards, Justice Minallah argued that the Constitution was also clear, stating that politics should have certain rules and that religion should never be used in them.

He ordered the police to assure the court about the legality of the cases and called on the attorney general to assist.

At the start of the discussion today, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) clarified that it had not launched any investigation into counter-terrorism or cybercrime wings against the PTI leadership in the case. “The local police have started investigating the cases,” his lawyer told the court.

Here, Faisal Chaudhry, a PTI adviser, told the court that Islamabad police had begun investigating four complaints.

During this time, Fawad said between 500 and 700 leaders and supporters of PTI were called to the cases. “We just want the cases against us dropped,” he added.

During the hearing, the lawyer for the former deputy speaker Qasim Suri asked the court to join his complaint against the attack on his client by PML-N staff last month, at Fawad’s request.

Imran, PTI leaders booked

On May 1, Faisalabad police registered a case under “blasphemy laws” against the PTI chairman and more than 150 others, including party veterans, following the Masjid-i-Nabwi incident.

The FIR was registered under the following sections of the Pakistani Code Penal Code: 295 (harming or defiling a place of worship for the purpose of defamation of religion), 295-A (disruptive religious meeting) and 109 (abetment).

Plaintiff Muhammad Naeem, a resident of Faisalabad, has nominated senior PTI leaders and close associates of Imran, including Chaudhry, Gill, Suri, Sahibzada Jahangir, Aneel Musarrat and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and his nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafiq.

The plaintiff accuses the Masjid-i-Nabwi section of being a “planned and deliberate plot” and supports his claims with reference to videos and statements made by certain PTI leaders.

Naeem went on to say that the suspects had violated verses of the Quran by raising political voices and using profanity in shrines where pilgrims were praying.

He said most of the suspects were members of a political party (PTI), as evidenced by video reports from the official Twitter accounts of PTI leaders and staff “before and after” the tragic incident.

Pilgrims sing, sing slogans against PM Shehbaz, union ministers

Last month, a group of Pakistani pilgrims kicked, kicked and chanted slogans at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his party at the Masjid-i-Nabwi Madina on their three-day visit – their first foreign trip since taking office – to Saudi Arabia. .

According to videos circulating on social media, Pakistani pilgrims at the mosque began chanting “chor, chor” (thieves, thieves) just to see the prime minister.

In another video, pilgrims can be seen waving and throwing obscenities at union ministers Marrium Aurangzeb and Shahzain Bugti, as the couple is accompanied by Saudi security guards. In one video, a traveler could be seen pulling Bugti’s hair from behind.

Following the incident, the media director of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Islamabad confirmed that some of the pilgrims involved in the incident had been arrested. The official said the protesters had been detained for “violating the rules” and for “disrespecting” the sanctity of the holy mosque.

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