Police investigation against Lal Masjid cleric challenged

Jibran Nasir says probe, which declared Aziz innocent, is flawed


Our Correspondent October 23, 2016
Last month a judicial magistrate had acquitted Aziz in another hate speech case registered against him by the Aabpara police. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A district court on Saturday reserved it’s verdict as activist Jibran Nasir challenged a police investigation which declared Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz as innocent in a case of hurling death threats to members of civil society.

Separately, a district court hearing a petition to file hate speech case against Aziz accepted documents against the clerics and set a date to hear arguments.

Hate speech: Lal Masjid cleric acquitted in hate speech case

Aziz had been named in an FIR registered at the Aabpara police station after he allegedly threatened civil society members including Nasir, Dr Farzana Bari, Senator Sehar Kamran and others during a protest outside the mosque against the cleric in the aftermath of the Peshawar APS massacre. However, police, in their challan submitted to Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Naseeruddin, had more or less declared Aziz as innocent, stating that they had no solid evidence against him.

Based on the police challan, Aziz filed an application requesting the court to quash the case against him.

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On Saturday, Nasir appeared in court and filed a counter application challenging the police investigation and demanding a fresh inquiry into the case. He argued that the police investigation was flawed and misled the court.

“The police in the past 20 months, since the inception of the case, did not at any point contact any one of the eight complainants to record their statements,” Nasir argued.

“The police have based their report solely on the statements of four people, all of whom are followers and supporters of Abdul Aziz,” Nasir said.

He claimed that police had taken the statement of only one side and thus demanded re-investigation.

Tariq Asad, counsel for Aziz, said that the police had investigated the issue objectively and declared Aziz innocent on merit.

The court has reserved verdict on both the applications and a decision is likely to be announced next month.

Hate speech

Meanwhile, Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan heard arguments on another application seeking the registration of a hate speech case against Aziz. Nasir, who is also petitioner in this case, sought a criminal case against Aziz for allegedly causing sectarian hatred and hurting religious sentiments of through an inflammatory sermon delivered on January 8, 2016.

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Following the speech, Nasir had filed a complaint with the Aabpara police but no action was taken on his complaint. Later, he moved the court in a bid to lodge an FIR against Aziz. On Saturday, the lawyer-activist submitted supporting documents including a recording of the sermon to the court. The case has now been adjourned till October 26.

Last month a judicial magistrate had acquitted Aziz in another hate speech case registered against him by the Aabpara police.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2016.

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