ATC seeks record in blasphemy accused killing case

Published August 11, 2020
The court fixed Aug 15 for hearing into the petition of the suspect, who sought his release on bail on multiple grounds. — File photo
The court fixed Aug 15 for hearing into the petition of the suspect, who sought his release on bail on multiple grounds. — File photo

PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court on Monday sought record of the killing of a blasphemy accused inside a courtroom last month as the suspected teenage killer filed a bail petition.

It also issued notice to the state prosecutor for response in the plea.

The court fixed Aug 15 for hearing into the petition of the suspect, who sought his release on bail on multiple grounds.

He said the Holy Quran and Sunnah were the supreme laws of an Islamic country and all other laws were subordinate to it.

Directs state prosecutor to respond to bail plea of killer

In the 10-page petition, which mostly referred to Quranic verses and Hadith, the suspected killer insisted that apostates were liable to be killed.

While the police claim that the suspect is around 17, the petitioner insisted that he was around 14 and a half years of age and that the entire investigation conducted in the case was a violation of the mandatory provisions of the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

The blasphemy accused, Tahir Ahmad Naseem, who was a US citizen, was shot down inside a courtroom at the Judicial Complex here on July 29. The petitioner is in Peshawar Central Prison on judicial remand.

The petition was submitted by a panel of lawyers, including Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, Mohammad Enam Yousafzai, Barrister Amirullah Khan, Qaiser Zaman Khan, Abdul Wali and Shakil Ahmadkhel.

The FIR of the killing was registered at the East Cantonment police station under Section 302 of Pakistan Penal Code, Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 15 of Arms Act.

The petitioner said no evidence was available on record to connect him with the commission of the offence.

He said the killing of anyone, who committed apostasy, by a Muslim in good faith and in line with the commandments of the Almighty Allah and Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), was not an offence and fell in the general exceptions provided in Pakistan Penal Code sections 76, 79 and 81.

The petitioner said it was evident from the record of the case registered against deceased Tahir Ahmad Naseem on Apr 25, 2018, at the Sarband police station as well as audio, video and text data available on social media and YouTube channel of the deceased that he had committed apostasy.

He also questioned the inclusion of Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act in the FIR registered against him and said in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the people’s sentiments and the Supreme Court’s recent judgements, the ATA doesn’t apply to the case.

The deceased was charged by Nowshera resident Malik Owais, who is enrolled in an Islamabad seminary.

The complainant had charged the deceased of making false religious claims and telling him that he had been receiving Divine Revelations in dreams.

The deceased was indicted on Feb 4, 2019, under PPC sections 153-A, 295-A and 298. However, he had denied charges.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2020

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