The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the Interior Ministry to place the names of six PML-N workers ─ including an MNA and an MPA ─ on the Exit Control List (ECL) for allegedly making anti-judiciary statements at a rally in Kasur last month.
In April, police had booked 80 PML-N activists, six of whom were nominated for allegedly staging a demonstration against an apex court verdict on the lifetime disqualification of former PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, and using expletives against the judiciary.
Though the speeches were not aired on television, videos of the rants went viral on social media through which the speakers were identified.
Police registered cases against the accused under Sections 166, 506, 341, 228 (intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding), 109, 147 and 149 (offenses against public tranquility) of the Pakistan Penal Code, and multiple activists were arrested.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Syed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi heard the case today, asking the prosecution why the charges against the suspects did not include sections related to cyber crime. The bench ordered the Kasur district police officer to look into the cases registered and refer them to the Federal Investigation Agency if cyber crime sections were applicable.
Arrested suspects MNA Waseem Akhtar, MPA Naeem Safdar, Kasur Municipal Committee Chairman Ayaz Khana and Vice Chairman Ahmad Latif were produced in court today. The court was told that two union council chairmen Nasir Khan and Jamil Khan who allegedly led the rally had been absconding since the incident took place.
The hearing was adjourned until May 7.
Petition to ban 'anti-judiciary' content on social media
In a separate petition being heard by the same bench seeking a ban on 'anti-judiciary' posts on social media, the LHC ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Ministry for Information Technology to submit replies on the matter.
According to the petitioner, since the court had placed a ban over the broadcast of 'anti-judiciary' speeches, some people had taken to social media to post such content.