Published On: Fri, May 2nd, 2014

Blasphemy: Four Ahmadis asked to record statements

April 23, 2014
LAHORE: A judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Tuesday ordered that statements of four men accused of distributing a daily newspaper of the Ahmadi community, which allegedly contained blasphemous content, should be recorded on April 26.

The four are among six Ahmadis facing charges under Sections 295-B (defiling or desecration of a copy of the Holy Quran) and 298-C (an Ahmadi posing as a Muslim) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 11-W of the Anti-Terrorism Act in a case registered with the Islampura police station. The complainant had accused the Ahmadis of printing and distributing Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya’s community newspaper Al-Fazal, which he had claimed carried blasphemous content. He had stated in his complaint that Khalid Ashfaq was president of the Ahmadi organisation in Kareem Park and had been distributing Al-Fazal amongst people, even though the Home Department had banned the newspaper in October 2011. The police were informed and had taken Khalid Ashfaq and Tahir Ahmed into custody when they were distributing copies of the newspaper. A printing press was also raided where allegedly blasphemous material was printed. The police later arrested Faisal Ahmed and Azhar Zareef. All four had been freed on bail. Daily Al-Fazal editor Abdul Sami and another accused Tahir Mehdi have not been arrested so far and have been declared proclaimed offenders. The four accused who were granted bail said in the court that none of the charges under the penal provisions invoked against them had been proven. The counsel for complainant contended that the accused had committed the cited offences by distributing a banned newspaper, which he said contained blasphemous material.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2014.

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