HRCP calls for withdrawal of blasphemy cases against PTI leadership

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission has called for the immediate withdrawal of charges filed against senior PTI leaders, including its chairman Imran Khan, under blasphemy laws for slogans against Prime Minister Shehbaz’s delegation Sharif at Masjid-e-Nabawi.

“The charges filed against senior PTI leaders under S. 295-A must be withdrawn immediately,” the human rights body wrote in a recent tweet.

“No government or political party can afford to allow allegations of blasphemy to be weaponized against its rivals,” he added.

This comes after Faisalabad Police registered the case under Sections 295 (damaging or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting his religion or beliefs), 296 (disturbing religious gathering) and 109 (incitement) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of an ordinary citizen.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, former Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry, Shahbaz Gill and Sahibzada Jehangir, Aneel Mussarat and Barrister Amir Ilyas have been named in the FIR.

The Complainant is of the opinion that the incident which took place at the Prophet’s Mosque on 28 April was planned by the leaders of the PTI.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has also supported recording blasphemy cases against PTI leaders, saying there is no justification for not accusing them of violating the sanctity of Roza-e. – Rasool.

However, the development angered PTI members. Former Information Minister Fawad Chaudry said it was the first time the Pakistani government had invoked the blasphemy laws against the opposition.

“Probably the first time in the history of the Pakistani government to use the blasphemy laws against the opposition, earlier private sects and extremists have armed these sections for revenge for personal vendetta, but today Law min n interior min triumphantly claimed victimization as a success,” he wrote on Twitter.

Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari also lambasted the government for registering “false FIRs”.

In a series of tweets, she said: “Not surprised to find any dirty tricks, shameless criminal Rana Sana registers a fake FIR for blasphemy against Imran Khan and others! It’s clear that CrimeMinister and his cabal of crooks brought in by the US regime change plot become desperate because they have no legitimacy among the nation”.

She also criticized the PPP for being part of the government’s scheme against the PTI. “Too bad the Dark Shadows continue to provide an invisible protective cloak to such base criminal actions by their chosen ones!” she concludes.

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