Who’s to benefit from CM’s forgiveness?

Home and Public Prosecution Departments differ on what cases CM wants withdrawn.


Express November 09, 2010

LAHORE: The public prosecution and home departments are at odds over exactly what Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif meant on Sunday when he instructed them to withdraw cases against religious leaders.

Home Department officials said the chief minister had ordered the withdrawal only of those cases registered against religious leaders related to anti-blasphemy protests in Lahore.

But the Public Prosecution Department believes the chief minister ordered the withdrawal of all cases against clerics during the rule of General (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

“Only cases registered after the rally in Lahore against the publishing of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) are being withdrawn,” said a Home Department official. “Other cases will proceed in court. The cases are being scrutinised to see which fall in the category announced by the chief minister.”

But Rana Maqbool Ahmed, secretary for public prosecution, said the policy would apply to all clerics “victimised” by Musharraf.

“All the cases registered against ulema and mashaikh who raised a voice against the anti-Islamic steps and barbarities of Musharraf will be withdrawn within the stipulated period,” he said.

During Musharraf’s tenure, the police registered cases against over 500 religious leaders, sources told The Express Tribune. Some 300 took part in protests against the publication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in Danish newspapers. They also held rallies to protest against the operation at Lal Masjid. These cases were registered under sections 353, 332, 436, 148/149, 427 and 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and Section 7 of the Anti Terrorist Act.

Ahmed said that Section 345 of the Criminal Procedure Code allowed the complainant to withdraw their complaint, even if the case was in trial or under investigation. The cases against the ulema were registered on complaints from the government, he said.

He said all district public prosecutors had been directed to collect data about cases registered against ulema and mashaikh so they could be withdrawn and the record of the cases confined.

Sharif announced after a meeting with ulema and mashaikh on Sunday that the cases would be withdrawn within 48 hours. The two departments do not have a record of the cases, but ulema and mashaikh have started providing the Home Department with copies of First Information Reports registered against them.

A senior official of the Punjab government said that once the cases are withdrawn, the province will apply a similar policy to political workers and traders who were victimised during Musharraf’s tenure.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

an | 11 years ago | Reply Why dont just withdraw this this bad blasphemy law which has caused so many deaths and is a source of victimisation and intolerance against minorities( Shia, Christians,ahmadis and even sunnis).
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