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IHC bars Police from registering blasphemy cases against PTI leaders

FIRs were registered against Imran Khan and other leaders over blasphemy across the country. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that there was no justification not to register cases against those who violated the sanctity of Roza-i-Rasool.

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Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday stopped Islamabad Police from registering blasphemy cases against leaders of PTI leaders over the heckling of members of the federal government at Masjid-e-Nabvi last month.

The government had accused PTI leaders of allegedly hatching a conspiracy to target members of the federal government including the Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb at Masjid-e-Nabvi. PMLN leadership blamed PTI leader Imran Khan and other top leaders of the party behind the incident. Following the incident, charged statements accusing PTI leadership of blasphemy were passed by PMLN and the members of the coalition government.

FIRs were registered against Imran Khan and other leaders over blasphemy across the country. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that there was no justification not to register cases against those who violated the sanctity of Roza-i-Rasool. Minister added that the pilgrims were instigated under a plan. He claimed that some of the people had traveled to Saudi Arabia from Britain. “There can be no forgiveness for what these people have done,” he said.

PTI reaches out to court

PTI leaders had reached out to the court to seek relief against the FIRs. PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that in the past no government had resorted to such tactics. “We do not have any hope from the interior minister but the law minister is a ‘literate’ person,” he said. Adding that use of religion to pursue political goals is reprehensible.

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CJ Athar Minallah asked whether the PTI leader trusted the bench. “We do trust you…who else can we trust if not this court,” he added.

Commenting on the case, CJ Minallah said that blasphemy cases against PTI leaders are a serious violation of human rights. He remarked that blasphemy charges led to the murder of Mishal Khan and Priyantha Kumara. “In hindsight, the cases registered in this context are not right,” said CJ.

CJ Minallah commented that the use of blasphemy laws for political mileage was a “blasphemous act in itself”, Justice Minallah said, adding that in the past the state has remained involved in similar practices. “What is the stance of the federal government on the issue,” the IHC CJ asked. “There are questions of serious nature in front of this court…either [the government] take the stance that the blasphemy law has not been misused in the past,” Express Tribune quoted CJ as saying.