Justice Sheikh Najamul Hasan of the Lahore High Court has refused to hear the bail application of Malik Ishaq, a leader of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (formerly known as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi), after the petitioner’s counsel objected to the court’s directions to the investigation officer in the case.
Ishaq is accused of making provocative speeches inciting violence and hatred of Shia Muslims.
On the judge’s direction, the investigation officer on Wednesday produced audio and video records of the allegedly objectionable speeches made by Malik Ishaq. The officer admitted that the audio and video had not been made part of the investigation, at which the judge reprimanded him.
The counsel for the petitioner then submitted that the court was not an investigation institution and did not have the power to issue directions on the investigation. The judge then decided that he would not hear the petition and referred the matter to the chief justice for fixing before another bench.
Bhakkar police lodged cases against Ishaq on August 8, 2012, and February 2 for making provocative speeches at public gatherings, allegedly to spread hate and create unrest. Ishaq has been in jail for the last three months.
In his bail plea, Ishaq said he was innocent and being victimised him for his religious beliefs.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.