Offence against any religion is blasphemy, says Justice Jillani

SC to set guidelines to enforce minorities’ rights, proposes task force.


Hasnaat Malik May 13, 2014
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. PHOTO: ZAHOORUL HAQ/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:


Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said on Tuesday that according to Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, offence against any religion comes under the blasphemy laws.


While heading a three-judge bench in the suo motu case of Peshawar church bombing and the rights of minority communities, the chief justice affirmed that the top court will ensure protection of minorities’ rights as it would set guidelines to enforce them and also ask the government to set up a ‘special force’ for the security of minorities.

For the preparation of guidelines on the enforcement of minorities’ rights, Justice Jillani appointed a three-judge bench, headed by himself and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed Shaikh and Justice Mushir Alam. He also appointed Munir A Malik, Khawaja Haris and Hassan Aurangzeb as amicus curiae to assist in the case.

He asked the representatives of minorities to submit a report on abusive material that has been used and identify areas where law-enforcement agencies failed to secure their life and property. “We know your concerns. We respect every religion and the desecration of minorities’ places of worship is a crime,” he said.

Apart from the Objectives Resolution of 1949, Articles 20 and 22 of the Constitution also guarantee the protection of minorities’ rights but unfortunately, these constitutional provisions have not been enforced in the country, he remarked. “We’ve collected a lot of material, wherein it is highlighted how these constitutional provisions have been violated and what are the issues the apex court needs to address,” Justice Jillani added.

He described the Liaquat–Nehru Pact – signed in 1950 that allowed the safe return of refugees and protected minorities – as a good agreement that later on increased animosity between Pakistan and India. He regretted that minorities’ rights have not been protected in either country.

The bench sought a report from the Sindh police chief regarding the six recent incidents related to the desecration of Hindu temples and their holy books. It also directed the Punjab advocate general to submit a reply on a Christian community complaint about the non-registration of their marriages.

During the hearing, MNA Ramesh Kumar, a representative of the Hindu community in Sindh, told the bench that six incidents have taken place wherein their places of worship or religious material were desecrated. The police did not take any action against the accused, he added.

The Sindh additional advocate general, however, claimed that FIRs were registered in all such incidents. Upon this, the bench asked whether FIRs were registered specifically against the desecration of minorities’ places of worship. “There is no specific law for such issues,” he said.

The bench asked him to read Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, wherein it is mentioned that the desecration of minorities’ places of worship is a criminal offence.

Meanwhile, the court asked the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa advocate general to file reply about the incident wherein a Hindu temple was set ablaze in Karak district.

The hearing was adjourned until the first week of June.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2014.

COMMENTS (22)

Satti | 7 years ago | Reply

@rohit950723:

Sorry we dont need a Positive signal from you or any Indian...!!!!

Good Step CJ...Rights of minority is a major issue..alot of work should be done in this regards as all human with PK passport regardless or their cast, religion or colour are Pakistanis and their rights should be given... Secondly are religion also doesnt not ALLOW in any circumstances to destroy holy worship areas of different religon...!!!

Thumps up CJ...now make the rule effective..!!!

Shah (Berlin) | 7 years ago | Reply

@V. C. Bhutani:

yes in India minority rights are protected..Thts y a University kicked students which supported Pakistan in the World Cup.

You will never change till you realize ur mistake. The CJ has...I hope one day India will as well...!!!!

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