Misuse of Law: 68 lawyers accused of blasphemy in Jhang

Pakistani lawyers shout slogans against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf during court proceedings in Islamabad on April 20, 2013. Musharraf was moved into police custody after being arrested on Friday, an unprecedented move against a former army chief of staff ahead of key elections. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM

JHANG – The local police has registered blasphemy case against as many as 68 lawyers who were actually raising slogans against Kotwali Station House Officer (SHO) Umar Daraz.

Another misuse of infamous blasphemy law in Pakistan appeared when Kotwali police of Jhang district lodged case against local lawyers under Section 295/A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for allegedly ridiculing companions of Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

However, in real the whole episode was misrepresented and police only misused the law to secure their vested interests.

The truth was told by the local bar association’s representatives that a couple of days ago, on the orders of the Kotwali district police officer, the police had registered a criminal case against Kotwali SHO Umar Daraz, ASI Mubashir and five other policemen for thrashing and keeping a lawyer Aftab Nadeem in illegal detention. When the police did not arrest the nominated accused police officials, the District Bar Association (DBA) members went on strike till the arrest of the SHO and his subordinates.

On the third day of the lawyers’ protest Arshad Mahmood, a resident of Basti Attawali, Jhang Sadar, through an application informed the police that during the protest some lawyers had shouted slogans with the name of SHO Umar Daraz and the mention of the name Umar had hurt the applicant’s religious emotions.

The Kotwali police lodged an FIR (No 294/14) against eight nominated and 60 unnamed lawyers under Section 295/A of the PPC.

Sources said it was an exceptional FIR in which the lawyers who were protesting against the police highhandedness were booked under blasphemy law. The issue would be taken up by Punjab and Pakistan Bar Councils.

Some DBA members alleged SHO Rana Umer Daraz belonged to Faisalabad and was a relative of a prominent Punjab minister. They alleged the police registered the case against the lawyers as a counter to the FIR against the SHO.

District Police Officer Zeeshan Asghar was not available for a comment on the issue.

About the author

Hissan Khan

Hissan Khan is currently working as the Editorial Head of Pakistan Tribe's Islamabad Office. Having work as current affairs host, news analyst and C4D expert, Hissan holds a good command over communication and development strategies.

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