Police have registered a blasphemy case against eight lawyers and 50 other people in Jhang for shouting derogatory slogans against a police chief who shares a name with the second Muslim caliph Hazrat Umar ibn Khattab (RA).
The lawyers were protesting against SHO Umar Daraz after one of their colleagues was allegedly manhandled by police officers following a road accident last week.
Soon after, complainant Arshad Mehmood moved an application in the police station alleging that his religious feelings were offended because the lawyers used the name “Umar” in their protest and lodged charges.
“A blasphemy case has been registered against eight lawyers and about 50 others after a citizen complained that they were shouting slogans derogatory to a Caliph of Islam and a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” said senior police official Ghulam Mustafa.
However, Jhang Bar Association’s spokesperson Naveed Akram told The Express Tribune, “A few days ago, seven police officers, including SHO Umar Daraz and Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Mubashar, were booked for beating up and illegally detaining a lawyer named Aftab Nadeem. Though the police registered a case, it did not arrest Daraz.”
The lawyers were protesting against the police for not taking any action against the SHO, while demanding his immediate arrest.
They did not chant slogans against Hazrat Umar (RA), but the namesake SHO, explained Jhang DBA President Muhammad Afzal Sial.
The complainant, Arshad Mehmood, is a member of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and is said to be a close aide to its chief Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi. Mehmood has registered and been a witness in at least five blasphemy cases before.
Meanwhile, DPO Zeeshan Akhtar said a committee has been constituted to probe into both cases against the lawyers and the SHO.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2014.
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