IHC prohibits police from registering FIRs against PTI leadership in Masjid-e-Nabwi case

IHC CJ Athar Minallah asks state to refrain from using religion

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday prohibited the police from registering further cases against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders in the Masjid-e-Nabwi incident.

Faisalabad police had previously during the month booked 150 people for their purported involvement in harassing and stopping a government delegation when they visited Masjid-e-Nabwi (PBUH) last month. Former prime minister Imran Khan was among those people against whom cases were registered.

PTI Chairman Khan had criticized the government last week for nominating him in the FIR. However, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah clarified that the state was not involved in the matter.

In today’s hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah stopped the interior minister and others from registering cases against the PTI leadership till further orders.

Meanwhile, PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said police reports indicated that they had received four complaints, but they were being investigated. Responding, the IHC CJ said that the court respected religious sentiments, however, the state had a duty to perform. He remarked that the court had received a similar plea, but the judges had not admitted it.

“If there is an impression that this is happening politically, then it is the job of the state to dispel it […] as, in the past, the state has used religion,” the IHC CJ noted.

Justice Minallah remarked that previously, such cases have put people’s lives at stake and asked the deputy attorney general how the state should deal with the matter.

“In the past, blasphemy [law] has been misused, and lives have been lost,” the judge observed.

The deputy attorney general said the concerned individuals should have approached the Lahore High Court with regards to the case registered against them, not the IHC.