Pakistan’s former Premier Imran Khan and several others booked under blasphemy law
Pakistan’s former Premier Imran Khan and 150 others have been booked under blasphemy law. A blasphemy case has been registered against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan and others in Faisalabad.
The blasphemy case was filed after the videos emerged showing PTI supporter shouted “chor” and “ghaddar” as soon as PM Shahbaz Sharif and his delegation arrived at the Masjid-e-Nabavi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Madina. It has been alleged that abusive language was also used against the PM and his delegation. However, Saudi authorities rounded up several Pakistanis suspected involved in the incident that unfolded on March 28, 2022.
The incident generated nationwide condemnation while Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah promised to bring to justice the perpetrators. “No one will be spared in this matter and law will take its course,” the IM said on a TV channel. Other prominent leaders including former ministers Sheikh Rashid, Fawad Chaudhary and Imran Khan’s chief of staff Shahbaz Gill, apart from others, have also been nominated in the FIR. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law 295-A, has been invoked along with 296, 109.
However, Imran Khan and his allies have termed the case as ridiculous. In this matter, Fawad Hussain, a PTI member pointed urged the international human rights groups take notice of the alleged misuse of the blasphemy law by the government. “Pakistan Interior minister in his statements has accepted the use of blasphemy laws as a tool to charge political opponents,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Probably first time in the history of Pakistan, [a] government is using Blasphemy laws against opposition earlier private sects and extremists weaponised these sections to avenge personal vendetta but today the interior minister triumphantly claimed victimisation as success,” he remarked in a subsequent tweet.
Country’s Rights activists have also censured the blasphemy charges and termed the move as as political victimization, saying they are meant for political purposes. On the other hand, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a tweet has demanded that the blasphemy cases against the PTI leadership should be withdrawn immediately. “No government or political party can afford to allow allegations of blasphemy to be weaponized against its rivals,” the tweet declared.