ISLAMABAD: A judicial magistrate on Monday acquitted Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Aziz in a death threats case filed by Jibran Nasir and other civil society activists. Insufficient evidence was listed as the reason for acquittal.
Aziz was booked by the Aabpara police after he allegedly threatened civil society members including Jibran Nasir, Farzana Bari, Senator Sehar Kamran, and others during their protest outside the mosque against the cleric following the Peshawar APS terror attack.
Lal Masjid cleric’s pre-arrest bail confirmed
The charge sheet the police submitted in court, however, declared Aziz innocent, saying there was no solid evidence against him. Following the submission, Aziz filed an application requesting the court to quash the case against him.
Nasir, however, filed a counter application on October 22 challenging the police investigation and demanding a fresh inquiry. He said the police conducted an intentionally flawed investigation and misled the court. He said the police recorded the narrative of one side only and thus demanded reinvestigation.
Tariq Asad, counsel for Aziz, maintained that the police had investigated the case on merit and argued against a fresh probe. He said not one of the eight complainants had provided the police with any evidence against his client.
Nasir’s application for re-investigation case was subsequently dismissed by Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Naseeruddin on December 2, 2016. On Monday, the court accepted Aziz’s application for acquittal.
Meanwhile, another application filed by Nasir seeking registration of a hate speech case against Aziz is pending before Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan.
FIR against Abdul Aziz sought
Nasir has sought a criminal case against Aziz for his alleged use of hate speech during a Friday sermon in January 2016. The court will take up this case today (Tuesday).
Shuhada Foundation, which handles legal affairs of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, said after Aziz’s acquittal on Monday there was no other case pending against him in any court. It said the foundation will now move the court to restore Aziz as the head cleric of the mosque.
Meanwhile, the foundation has also filed applications with the Supreme Court and the police seeking action against the mosque’s current deputy cleric Aamir Siddique and others for disrupting their attempt to hold a press conference at the mosque on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2017.
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