RAWALPINDI, Feb 8: Despite numerous violations of the law regarding loudspeakers in mosques and imambargahs, few cases have been registered and even fewer arrests made, a report from the Counterterrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab police suggests. U nder Section 3 of the Loudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance, 1965, mosques can use loudspeakers only to broadcast the azan and the weekly sermon. The law bans mounting loudspeakers outside mosques or other places of worship.

In a report sent to the provincial government, the CTD blamed the police for failure to implement and enforce the ban.

The report mentions 72 violations of the law in the Rawalpindi police region - 31 in Rawalpindi, 22 in Jhelum, 13 in Chakwal and six in Attock - and says that no cases were registered with the police.

Previously, the CTD had reported 23 violations in December 2012, and 59 in November. Only one case was registered in this period, in Attock in November, but no arrests were made.

Shoaib Aqueel, Deputy Superintendent of Police, told Dawn that violations of this ban had been increasing.

“When we notice a violation, the local police and district administration discuss the issue with religious scholars of the different sects,” he said.

“We try to create awareness of the ban, which is imposed by the government, and ask them for their help in maintaining law and order,” he said adding district police committees are also involved in this process.

“If talking to the violators of the law proves unproductive,” he continued, “the local police begin the process of registering cases against them.” When arrests are made under Section 3 of the ordinance, a senior police official clarified, the accused is taken to court for a trial.

Raja Samiul Haq, an advocate, explained that if convicted by a court, a violator of this law can face three months simple imprisonment, a fine of Rs2,000, or both.

The case against the violator has to be registered by the police, and a police officer of the rank of sub-inspector or higher has the authority to confiscate a loudspeaker or amplifier being used in an illegal manner.

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