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Pakistan

Masjid-e-Nabwi incident: IHC bars police from registering FIRs against PTI leaders

  • Says politics should have some principles and religion should never be used for it
12 May, 2022

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) barred on Thursday the police from registering more blasphemy cases against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership over the Masjid-i-Nabwi incident, it was reported.

Earlier the court had told the government to stop arresting PTI members in relation to FIRs filed based on the incident - nephew of former interior minister Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Rashid Shafique, was one of the people arrested. Now, the IHC has told authorities not to register any more cases.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up the petition filed by PTI’s legal team - Advocate Faisal Fareed and Advocate Ali Bukhari - on behalf of the party’s senior leader, Fawad Chaudhry.

The petition requested the IHC to issue directions to state authorities, the police, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), to “immediately stop the unlawful and illegal harassment of Fawad and his colleagues”.

The petition also called for placing all FIRs registered against the PTI leadership so far in various parts of the country on record and urged the court to deem the action of the FIA and the police as “illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional”.

During the hearing today, the chief justice said that politics “should have some principles and religion should never be used for it.”

“In the past, blasphemy [law] has been misused, and lives have been lost,” he added.

Background

Earlier in May, PM Shehbaz Sharif’s delegation was greeted with derogatory slogans from Pakistani pilgrims on their arrival at the Masjid-e-Nabwi in Madinah.

Videos of the incident went viral on social media where Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Shahzain Bugti appeared to be harassed, while Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb endured verbal abuse.

Islamabad High Court bars govt from arresting PTI leaders

Many FIRs were registered against PTI leadership. One of them was by Qazi Muhammad Tariq Advocate at New Airport Police Station under sections 295 (harming or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 296 (disturbing religious assembly).

Along with former PM Imran, top PTI leadership including Sheikh Rashid, Fawad, Shahbaz Gill, and Murad Saeed were also named in the case.

As per the lawsuit, the incident was carried out under a “planned and thought-out scheme and conspiracy” by a group headed by Sheikh Rashid that went to Saudi Arabia and was joined but another group from Britain, headed by PTI member Sahibzada Jahangir that included Aneel Musarrat, Nabeel Musarrat, Rana Abdul Sattar, Amir Ilyas, Ejaz Haq and Gohar Jilani.

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