Published On: Tue, Dec 15th, 2015

Man held for degrading Ahmadis gets bail

December 15, 2015
LAHORE(Pakistan): A judicial magistrate on Monday granted bail to a man arrested a day earlier for putting up anti-Ahmadi posters at his shop at Hafeez Centre – the largest IT products market in the city.

Zafar Farid Hashmi granted bail to Abid Hasan Hashmi against Rs50,000 surety bonds. The magistrate observed that the matter needed to be further investigated. He stated that the posters were also not recovered from Hashmi. Gulberg police had arrested Hashmi and one Nauman on Sunday for allegedly putting up stickers carrying remarks against the Ahmadiyya community at entrances to their shops at Hafeez Centre.

Police had later released Nauman without recording his arrest. Hashmi was presented before a magistrate on Sunday who had sent him on judicial remand. Hashmi’s lawyer submitted that he did not own the shop where the posters had been displayed. “The shop’s owner, too, is not responsible because any visitor can put up a poster there.”

Hashmi was brought to the Model Town courts complex amid stringent security arrangements.

A large number of people, including some traders from Hafeez Centre and members of a Khatm-i-Nabuwat organisation, had gathered in front of the court to protest the arrest.

They raised slogans in favour of the suspects.

The FIR registered under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance stated that a police team had removed notices carrying derogatory remarks against the Ahmadiyya community from the entrance of the suspects’ shops at Hafeez Centre.

Traders protest against arrests

Traders from several city markets staged a protest demonstration on Monday against the arrest of two men on charges of displaying anti-Ahmadiyya slogans at the entrance to their shops.

A large number of traders and shopkeepers from Hafeez Centre, Hassan Tower, Pace and other markets and commercial areas in the area gathered outside Hafeez Centre at Gulberg’s Main Boulevard. They carried banners, posters and placards inscribed with slogans against the government and the Police Department.

Hafeez Centre Traders’ Association president Muhammad Fayyaz Butt and general secretary Sheikh Muhammad Fayyaz said it was very unfortunate that police had registered a case against one of the traders who was arrested.

“A day before the arrests, police had removed the objectionable stickers from the market. We thought the issue had been resolved. However, the next day, police arrested two traders,” he said. Gulberg police had raided Hafeez Centre on Saturday and removed objectionable stickers from two shops. Later, police had arrested the shop owners.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2015.

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