March 3rd, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
Actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed have been summoned on March 16 for their indictment over the alleged desecration of the Wazir Khan mosque after a court rejected their acquittal applications in the case.
In the proceedings on March 2, their counsel requested the judicial magistrate to allow the acquittal applications of his clients saying no desecration took place in the mosque.
Both Qamar and Saeed appeared before the court. The defense counsel said that his clients were nominated in the case on ulterior motives. He said the Punjab Auqaf Department had declared them innocent in its inquiry report which stated no immoral act had occurred in the mosque. Contrary to the FIR, he said no dance or music took place at the mosque.
The counsel argued that there was no probability of the conviction of the petitioners in any offense and any further proceedings in the case would be a futile exercise.
However, a prosecutor opposed their acquittal, arguing that both individuals performed dance in the mosque as could allegedly be seen in a video available with the prosecution. He asked the court to dismiss their acquittal applications and let the prosecution establish its case with evidence.
Dismissing their acquittal applications, the court summoned both celebrities on March 16 for indictment. The alleged desecration case was registered on-court direction following an application by a lawyer, Farhat Manzoor Chandio, that the duo had violated the sanctity of the mosque by holding a photoshoot there.
Chandio claimed that their act had hurt religious sentiments of the citizens. The Akbari Gate police registered a case against both suspects under section 295 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) dealing with offence of injuring or defiling a place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class.
Human rights activists have expressed alarm at the indictment of actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed over allegations of desecration.
“The duo will live in a state of fear of reprisal attacks and threats during the course of proceedings to determine their guilt,” Harris Khalique, Secretary-General of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, had earlier told Voicepk.net while commenting on the alleged desecration case against both celebrities.
Khalique said the alleged desecration case was the result of the growing extremism in society. In his view, the duo had done nothing to desecrate the sanctity of the mosque. “In everyday life, we see couples doing their wedding shoot in Lahore’s historic Badhsahi Mosque after the Nikah ceremony there,” he said.