ISLAMABAD: The capital city’s police department has decided to register criminal cases against the Shohada Foundation and students of Jamia Hafsa for ‘waging war’ and inviting the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), also known by its Arabic acronym Daish, to avenge Operation Silence, that was carried out against the Lal Masjid in 2007.
Senior police officials told Dawn on Thursday that the department had sought the legal opinion of their prosecution department over a press release and video massage, made by students of the Jamia Hafsa seminary, inviting Daish to come to Pakistan.
The press release and video were issued by the Shohada Foundation. A report was prepared on the issue by Superintendent of Police (SP) City Rizwan Omar Gondal, which was forwarded to Inspector General (IG) Tahir Alam Khan for further action.
The IG asked for a legal opinion on the matter and the report was sent to Islamabad deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Legal for his opinion.
Prosecutors say video message to IS leader asking him to avenge Operation Silence qualifies as ‘waging war’ against Pakistan
The DSP Legal reported that he had consulted with Syed Mohamamd Tayyab, a special public prosecutor for the Anti-Terrorist Courts as well as the notified prosecutor in cases registered under the newly-passed Protection of Pakistan Act 2014.
The words spoken by the students in the video and the content of the press release reportedly fall under offences laid out in sections 121, 121A, 505(1)b and 505(2) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Section 121 and 121-A of the code deals with offences related to ‘waging war’ against Pakistan.
The expression “waging war”, according to the legal opinion submitted to the police department, has not been defined in the code or in the General Clauses Act, 1897 and must be therefore, be understood in its ordinary dictionary meaning of “carrying on war”.
“The DSP Legal has deeply perused the special report along with press release and visual evidence with the consultation of the special public prosecutor. As the matter relates to sovereignty of the country and requires that it be sent to the appropriate forum to solicit legal advice before proceeding further,” the legal opinion says.
A police officer told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the concerned authorities and lawmakers had been informed about the issue and the police had decided to register cases against seminary students and the foundation. He said that they were still awaiting further orders in this regard.
Section 121 of the PPC deals with “waging or attempting ot wage war or abeting waging of war against Pakistan”, while Section 121A is entitled “conspiracy to commit offence publishable by section 121”. Section 505(1)b deals with “whoever makes, publishes, or circulates any statement rumour or report” , while Section 505(2) is entitled “whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language, or regional groups or castes or communities”.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2015