GILGIT: An anti-terrorism court has sentenced the owner of the Jang-Geo group Mir Shakeelur Rehman, host of Geo TV’s morning show Shaista Lodhi, actress Veena Malik and her husband Malik Asad to 26-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs1.3 million each for hurting religious sentiments of people in the show.

Announcing the verdict on Tuesday, ATC judge Raja Shahbaz ordered inspectors general of police of Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to arrest the convicts and execute his order.

The court also asked the commissioners of Karachi and Rawalpindi and the deputy commissioner of Islamabad to sell the property of the four ‘proclaimed offenders’ under Section 19(10) of the Anti-Terrorism Act in case of disobedience.

On May 26 this year, Himayatullah Khan, senior vice president of the Gilgit-Baltistan chapter of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, had lodged an FIR with the Baseen police station saying the show had defiled Ahle Bait by playing a contemptuous Qawwali in its morning show.

According to the judgment, the competent authority had constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) on June 6 on a request made by the DIG. After completion of the JIT investigation, the case was submitted before the ATC on Sept 1.

The judgment said the accused had been declared absconders by the JIT.

“After evaluation of the entire evidence of the prosecution, I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has proved its case against proclaimed offenders and absconders,” the judge said in the verdict.

“I convict proclaimed offenders under sections of Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997,” the judge said.

The compliance report be submitted before this court within 90 days and the record of the case may be transmitted to the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court, the judgment said.

Meanwhile, a police source said that 10 FIRs had been registered against the owner of the Geo TV network and the morning show host at different police stations in Gilgit city, two in Skardu and one in Chilas.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2014

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