LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday indicted Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan President Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi, its patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri and others in a case of launching violent protests against acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

The prosecution handed over the charge sheets to the suspects during a hearing before ATC-I Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta.

The suspects denied the charge and the judge summoned the prosecution witnesses on Wednesday (today) to record their evidence.

The Civil Lines police had registered a case under section 290/291/353/427/186/188 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 6 of Sound System Punjab Ordinance 2015 against Rizvi and other leaders of the TLP. Later, it added section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 to the FIR.

The prosecution said the suspects were involved in inciting people against the state and their followers damaged public and private property and caused a sense of fear among the citizens.

The TLP leaders challenged the case against them saying the story narrated in the FIR was fabricated. They rejected the prosecution story and said the case was mere political victimisation.

Both Rizvi and Qadri were granted post-arrest bail by the Lahore High Court on medical grounds. An appeal by the government for cancellation of their bail was pending with the Supreme Court.

Abbasi’s plea: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the federal government, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other respondents on a petition of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi against non-issuance of his production orders to attend sessions of the National Assembly.

Representing the petitioner, Advocate Rana Asadullah Khan stated that Mr Abbasi was elected to the assembly from NA-124, Lahore, and at present was in judicial custody following a NAB reference.

He said the petitioner time and again requested the NA speaker for issuance of his production orders but the speaker had not been issuing the same in violation of law and the assembly’s rules.

The counsel said mala fide intention of the speaker was evident as previously other members facing cases had been summoned through production orders to attend the assembly’s sessions. He said the non-issuance of the petitioner’s production order was a violation of his fundamental rights.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi sought replies from the respondents by Nov 14.

VERDICT RESERVED: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday reserved verdict on maintainability of a petition seeking a direction to restrain former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from going abroad for medical treatment.

Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafree, the petitioner, submitted that allowing Sharif to travel abroad would amount to meting out unfair treatment to other ailing inmates as they would be discriminated.

He expressed apprehensions that the ex-PM would not return home like Pakistan’s former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani.

He asked the court to rule that approval to go abroad would be subject to final outcome of Sharif’s pending cases.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019