FIR lodged against Aurat Azadi March organizers in Islamabad

Peshawar East Cantonment police on Thursday, April 15, lodged an FIR under section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 295-C (use of derogatory remark etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet) against Aurat Azadi March organizers participants in Islamabad on court orders.

Last month, five Peshawar-based lawyers led by advocate Ibrar Hussain sought the registration of a case against organizers and rally-goers of the Aurat Azadi March in Islamabad for allegedly displaying blasphemous posters and making derogatory remarks against the Prophet and other sacred Islamic personalities during their demonstration on March 8. The lawyers also submitting a contempt petition against the police for refusing to register an FIR against the women’s rights protesters.

Additional district and sessions judge Syed Shaukat Ali Shah had ruled the the police was legally obligated to register the FIR as the contents of the petition constitute a cognizable offence. On Thursday, East Cantt SHO appeared before the court and submitted a copy of the registered FIR, following which the court dismissed the contempt petition.

Meanwhile, Aurat Azadi March organizers have petitioned the Peshawar High Court against the order of the additional districts and sessions court judge, stating that no objectionable or blasphemous activity took place during the March 8 rally.

In a separate development, a Lahore additional district and sessions court dismissed a similar petition seeking the registration of an FIR against activists Tooba Syed, Marvi Sirmad and 200 unidentified participants of Aurat Azadi March in Islamabad for allegedly blasphemous slogans. Judge Hafiz Rizwan Aziz observed that the ‘objectionable’ poster did not name any sacred personality and therefore did not warrant any defamation provisions.

The court also noted that the petitioner’s offense over a vague slogan which he termed blasphemy reflected his own state of mind and pattern of thought, and that he had levied serious allegations without a shred of evidence supporting those allegations. The court also discarded the petition on the grounds that the speech identified in the complaint constituted an offence, and that as the rally in question happened in Islamabad, the sessions court did not have the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the application.

254 Accelerated Learning centers set up in Balochistan

With the support of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Balochistan Education Department has established 254 Accelerated Learning Programme centers in various districts of the province. There are currently 8,000 students enrolled in centers set up in those parts of the province sans any government schools.

The Accelerated Learning Programme aims to address the age gap created when an out-of-school child misses their academic years, and provide primary education to students within three year as opposed to the standard six years.

Petition seeking formation of JIT to probe arrest of TLP Chief dismissed

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Qasim Khan dismissed a plea seeking the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) against the arrest of the Chief of the Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) Saad Rizvi, and slapped the petitioner with a fine of Rs. 200,000 for filing a frivolous petition.

Advocated Imran Javed Qureshi, a representative of the Legal Awareness and Protection Center (LAPC) law firm, contended that a JIT should inquire into Saad Rizvi’s arrest in broad daylight, as well as the fact that the police had made clips of the arrest which were distributed on social media which incited TLP activists.

The court questioned who to hold responsible for deaths of civilians when the protesters blocked ambulances, and demanded of the petitioner the law under which he filed his application and the grounds for his request to form a JIT.