The Islamabad High Court has sought the interior ministry’s response on a petition seeking registration of a criminal case against firebrand Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz for extolling the Islamic State terror group.
While admitting the petition of social activist Jibran Nasir for regular hearing, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani summoned the deputy attorney general on the next hearing date on May 18.
Jibran has requested the high court to set aside an order of the district court and direct the respondents to register an FIR against Aziz, his wife, and students of Jamia Hafsa for pledging allegiance to the Middle Eastern terrorist outfit.
The petitioner has named the interior ministry, Islamabad police chief and justice of peace, and the Aabpara SSP and SHO as respondents.
He stated some Jamia Hafsa students had recently released a video on social media, inviting the Islamic State – also known by its Arabic acronym of Da’ish – to intervene in Pakistan. The students also encouraged them to kill soldiers and civilians, chop off their hands and heads, and tear their bodies apart to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden and the 2007 Lal Masjid military operation.
Abdul Aziz, Jibran stated, through another video appreciated and endorsed the students’ message, saying “his mission and the mission of the proscribed terrorist organisation are the same”.
Referring to a story published in The Express Tribune in December 2014, the petitioner added the cleric not only owned the message but also admitted the video was prepared with his consent.
Jibran mentioned that Aziz’s name was listed in the 4th Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and the cleric, his wife and students of Jamia Hafsa had taken up arms against the state earlier as well.
The social activist claimed a Pakistan-based proscribed terrorist outfit named “Ansarul Islam” had already joined Da’ish in 2014 and was running a militant camp in Syria on the name of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi – Abdul Aziz’s brother who was killed in the 2007 operation.
Jibran contended expressing allegiance to Da’ish, propagating and supporting its agenda and calling them for revenge attacks in Pakistan clearly constituted cognisable offences against national security. “[These] acts cannot and must not be ignored,” he stated.
On March 7, Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Asif Mehmood dismissed Jibran’s application, observing the complainant lacked legal standing.
The plaintiff said the district court committed a grave error and therefore the impugned order was liable to be set aside.
Nasir asked the court to direct the respondents to register a case against Aziz, his wife and Jamia Hafsa students under anti-terrorism laws in light of the facts stated in his petition.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.