An additional district and sessions judge on Friday directed the relevant SHO to record a complainant’s statement under Section-154 of the Pakistan Code of Criminal Procedure.
The petitioner had sought the registration of a case against Nawa-i-waqt columnist Ajmal Niazi for portraying Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as secular in his columns and a book.
The petitioner’s counsel, Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, submitted that Niazi, in his April 9 column Najam Sethi aur Khatoon Sahafi Aamnay Saamnay had stated that ‘no one was more secular than Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’. The word secular, Chaudhry said, meant “laa deeni ya deen se khali” (nonreligious or devoid of religion).
He said in his book Mandar mein mehrab, he had stated that “no one was more secular than God” and that history has not seen a person more secular [in his approach] than Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Niazi’s June 1, 2003, column ‘Shaheed Bishop John Joseph nay haq k liey jan dee’ published in Din newspaper stated that the blasphemy law was irrelevant. He had declared the bishop a martyr for committing suicide to protest against the law.
Chaudhry said that Niazi had hurt the sentiments of Muslims by calling God and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) secular.
His statements could be considered blasphemous, he said, Niazi appeared to be working for an anti-Islamic lobby that wanted to impose secularism on Pakistan.
He submitted that his client had approached an SHO to file his complaint but had been rebuffed. He prayed the court to direct the SHO concerned to register a blasphemy case against Niazi.
The judge ruled that since the complaint was about a cognizable offence, the SHO should fulfil his duty by recording the petitioner’s statement and proceed in accordance with law.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2013.
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