October 19th, 2020 

By Ahmad Saeed 


While commenting on the arrest of PML-N leader Capt. (Retd) Safdar senior lawyers have said that even though there is a law to protect the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum, the manner in which the law was used has been completely illegal. They said that an FIR registered under pressure has no legal standing.

They were referring to the FIR that was registered against Captain Safdar under the Mazar-e-Quaid Protection and Maintenance Ordinance on charges of alleged desecration and vandalism of the tomb within the Brigade police station limits.

Under the Ordinance, any political activity at the Mazar-e-Quaid or any act that violates the sanctity of the shrine is a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine or both.

The Sindh government has expressed dissatisfaction over the registration of this FIR and the arrest of Captain Safdar.

According to Haider Imam Rizvi, Vice Chairman of Sindh Bar Council (SBC), if reports of ‘pressure’ being asserted by certain institutions are true then the FIR does not have any legal status whatsoever.

“I think the haste exercised in this case makes it look legally dubious,” he said. “If a politician is talking about the supremacy of the constitution standing inside the Quaid’s tomb then I don’t think there is anything illegal about it. Additionally, everyone knows about the treatment meted out to Fatima Jinnah; in this context, I don’t think there is anything illegal about what Captain Safdar did,” says Haider.

Yasin Azad, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, called the whole episode a “dangerous game” and demanded that the Sindh government immediately withdraw this FIR.

“In my legal opinion the Sindh government has the legal authority to withdraw this FIR and they should do so immediately. I would also like to request the real rulers of this country to stop violating the constitution by playing these dangerous games,” says Yasin.

Kamran Murtaza, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, called the current situation worrisome and asserted that the courts should perform their constitutional duties properly. He said that the whole situation was worrisome but it was more unfortunate that the courts were not doing their job properly.

“The government should exercise patience in dealing with political opponents and stop exploiting the law,” says Murtaza.

In general, the legal fraternity has pointed out that the case feels like another incident of political victimization by the current government.