LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a notice to the federal government on Monday on a petition filed by Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed against the screening of an Indian movie, Phantom, in Pakistan. He said the film targeted the JuD and sought to harm the integrity of Pakistan.
Justice Shahid Bilal Hasan directed the federal government to file its reply before the next hearing on August 13.
Advocate AK Dogar, the counsel for Saeed, requested the court to issue a stay order against the screening but the judge said it was necessary to first hear the respondent.
A JuD spokesperson and Saeed’s brother-in-law, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, attended the court proceedings.
The United States Department of the Treasury had placed Makki on its Specially Designated Nationals List. Through its Rewards for Justice Programme, it had announced a $2 million reward for information leading to his prosecution in a court in the US or elsewhere.
Responding to a query after the proceedings, Makki said they wanted the film to be banned on every forum, including the internet, cinemas and DVDs.
Dogar said he was thankful to Makki for joining hands with him against India.
In the petition, Saeed had said the JuD was a charitable organisation. He said it also helped people such as Abdul Sattar Edhi. He said the organisation had no nexus with the Lashkar-i-Taiba, a banned militant organisation.
Saeed said the JuD had established 142 schools and four universities across the country. “It is educating the poor,” he said.
Dogar said an official trailer of Phantom had been released. He submitted a DVD in court containing the trailer. He said TV footage showing Saeed was part of the movie. It says, “Have you been able to prove that Hafiz Saeed masterminded the Mumbai attacks?… you have been unsuccessful for six years trying to prove anything.”
The lawyer said Bollywood start Saif Ali Khan had been filmed as saying, “America infiltrated into Pakistan to hunt Osama [Bin Laden[. Why can’t we do the same? We will kill them at their places.”
Dogar said the film thus included a death threat to the petitioner and his associates. He said the movie had been advertised to be exhibited in Pakistan on August 28. “It is obvious that statements in the film will affect Saeed’s reputation. The JuD has not been a proscribed organisation. Even the United Nations has issued a certificate acknowledging that the organisation is working not only in Pakistan but also outside the country.”
Dogar said the film’s screening should be banned in Pakistan. He said security of life was a fundamental right of the petitioner and his associates. He said Article 4 of the Constitution stated that every Pakistani could seek protection of law and that he must be treated in accordance with law. “It is the state’s responsibility to prevent another country from jeopardising the lives of its citizens,” the lawyer said.
He requested the court to direct the federal government to take action through Pakistan High Commission in India against the planned exhibition of Phantom in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2015.