The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has prohibited the police from filing blasphemy cases.
The order was issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday while hearing a petition filed by former federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry to prevent the police from arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members who were charged with blasphemy after a hooliganism incident in Masjid-e-Nabawi.
Justice Minallah said the use of blasphemy laws for political purposes is also blasphemy.
Before detaining somebody under the blasphemy laws, he noted, the police must satisfy the court of reasonable justification.
The FIRs were filed by citizens, according to the deputy attorney general. CJ Minallah, on the other hand, interposed, claiming that the FIRs were filed with malicious intent.
During the hearing on May 2, the court ordered the police not to arrest the PTI leaders, stating that they are still members of the National Assembly and cannot be detained without the Speaker’s approval.
Cases were registered against various PTI members including Chairman Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, Shahbaz Gill, Sheikh Rashid, and his nephew Rashid Shafique, who have been charged for violating Pakistan Penal Code sections 295 (defiling a place of worship) and 296 (disturbing a religious assembly).
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