Pakistan

PTI moves IHC against registration of blasphemy cases


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking the intervention of the court to end "harassment" by the state authorities amid the registration of multiple cases against PTI leadership, including Chairman Imran Khan, in connection with hooliganism at Masjid-e-Nabwi last week.

The FIRs were lodged on Sunday against former premier Imran and other top leaders of the party in Faisalabad and other cities of Punjab over their alleged involvement in the incident in Masjid-e-Nabwi, where some Pakistani pilgrims shouted slogans against the new government and ridiculed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the federal ministers.

The petition filed by PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry requested the high court to issue directions to the state authorities, including the police and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), to “immediately stop the unlawful and illegal harassment of the petitioner and his colleagues”.

Read Imran distances himself from Masjid-e-Nabwi incident

It also sought the placement on record of all the FIRs registered in the various parts of the country against the petitioner and others on the issue of alleged blasphemy at Masjid-e-Nabwi. It requested the high court to stop the police and FIA from “violating and disrespecting the privacy, honour of the families, and households of the petitioner and preserve the sanctity thereof”.

The authorities should inform “the petitioner of the grounds and reasons for the registration of criminal cases against them, to ensure his fundamental rights to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. And further to satisfy this august court before lodging any action against the petitioner”.

In his plea, Fawad said the FIRs against the PTI leadership violated Article 4 (Right of Individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law), Article 5 (loyalty to the state), Article 17 (freedom of association), Article 19, 19-A (right to information), and Article 68 of the Constitution.

The interior secretary, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, the police chiefs of all provinces and the FIA director general were made respondents in the petition that termed the action against PTI leaders “mala fide”.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, who is currently in the US, also moved the IHC for protective bail in the wake of the cases filed against him in connection with the incident in Saudi Arabia. Gill said he was “falsely implicated in the FIR in order to harass, pressurize, blackmail, and humiliate” him.


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