A sessions court in Lahore summoned actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed on September 3 in a case of alleged desecration of the Wazir Khan mosque. The court on Tuesday also barred police from arresting them until the date of their court appearance.
Akbari Gate police had registered a first information report (FIR) against the duo under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) following a court’s direction to act on an application of a lawyer as per the law and decide whether a cognisable offence was made out. The case concerns the shooting of a song's video in the historic Masjid Wazir Khan.
The PPC section deals with the offence of injuring or defiling a place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class.
On August 15, the court had granted interim pre-arrest bail to Qamar and Saeed until Aug 25.
On Tuesday, Additional District and Sessions Judge Waseem Ahmad approved an application filed by the duo seeking exemption from personal appearance in the court today, in which they cited threats to their lives.
However, the judge ordered Qamar and Saeed to appear in court regarding their application for bail extension on September 3 in person, and directed police not to take action against them until then.
At the last hearing of the case, Qamar and Saeed had appeared before the court along with their counsel and sought bail citing apprehension of their arrest by the police.
The counsel argued that the FIR was baseless and contrary to the facts. He said no dance or music took place at the mosque as alleged in the FIR. He said the petitioners were innocent and falsely implicated in the case for ulterior motives. The counsel also questioned the validity of the FIR registered with a delay of 17 days.
On Aug 13, a sessions court had directed the Akbari Gate SHO to proceed in accordance with the law on the application filed by Advocate Sardar Farhat Manzoor Khan.
The lawyer pleaded before the court that the singer-actor duo trampled upon the sanctity of the mosque by their act which also sparked outrage among the citizens. He asked the court to order the police to lodge a case against the persons involved in the allegedly illegal act.
The Auqaf department and the actors through their lawyers had opposed the petition. They said the video shooting was held with the permission of the department after the payment of official fee of Rs30,000. They said the actors had already offered an unconditional apology on various forums.