Verdict reserved on sedition charges against Khadim Rizvi

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LAHORE: A Lahore sessions court on Saturday reserved its verdict on a petition seeking sedition charges against Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and others for their diatribe against the judiciary, armed forces and other state institutions.

Filed by advocate Abdullah Malik, the petition states that the station house officer (SHO) of Civil Lines police station in Lahore had failed to file a first information report (FIR) against Rizvi and company after they had incited the masses to violence and stage mutiny against the state, in the aftermath of the apex court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi from blasphemy charges.

The Civil Lines police, in today’s hearing, submitted its report and told the court that an FIR had already been lodged against Rizvi under Sections 291, 290, 186, 353, 427 and 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order.

At this, the petitioner’s counsel insisted that sedition charges against the TLP leader should also be added to the FIR.

Additional Sessions Judge Rai Mohammad Kharal, following the conclusion of the arguments, reserved the verdict on the petition.

Rizvi is currently in the “protective custody” of Punjab police after being arrested late on Friday, according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

Meanwhile, a petitioner has approached the top court, seeking a contempt of court notice against TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and party’s leader Pir Afzal Qadri.

In his petition on Tuesday, the applicant asked if the two leaders had got some sort of license to desecrate the court. “Do they have any permission to use inappropriate words against the court,” barrister Masroor Shah said.

He went on to as, “shouldn’t all citizens be faithful to the state in accordance with the Constitution.” Shah pointed out that the aforementioned leaders disparaged the court in their address to their supporters following the verdict of the top court in the Aasia Bibi case.

Peace protest, he added, is everyone’s right in a democratic society, but no one has the right to paralyse the lives of other citizens under the garb of protest. “Didn’t the foul language used by the two leaders during the protests account for contempt of court,” he asked.

The petitioner asked the court to began proceedings, relating to contempt, against the two leaders, and take them to task.

The TLP chief and dozens of party leaders were arrested by police last week in a raid on his residence in Lahore.

Rizvi-led TLP had called of its countrywide protest sit-ins following reaching of an agreement with the federal and Punjab governments. On October 30, nationwide protests erupted against the acquittal of blasphemy accused Aasia Bibi, by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.