LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has ruled that inciting public to raise funds for ‘Jihad’ (holy war) is not allowed to individuals in an Islamic state as this may be considered as “baghawat” (treason).

“At the most it may be a job of the state to collect national funds for a declared war, if essential, which cannot be raised privately by any organisation,” a two-judge bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi explains in a verdict, dismissing appeals of two men convicted for raising funds for proscribed militant outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

An anti-terrorism court of Sargodha had handed down five-year imprisonment each to the appellants –Muhammad Ibrahim and Ubaidur Rehman -- in January 2021.

As per the prosecution story, the police on a tip-off arrested Ibrahim and recovered 136 pamphlets, one used and two unused subscription books of the banned outfit and cash, whereas a receipt of donation was recovered from Rehman, besides other material.

The counsel for the appellants argued that neither any other donor, nor the person to whom the funds were transferred, was arrested, nor any membership card of the proscribed organisation was recovered from the appellants.

Justice Najafi, the author of the verdict, rejected the arguments, saying no mala fide of the police witnesses was even alleged to cast aspersion on their credibility.

He observes that the display of different heads on the pamphlet was not essential as the fact remains that the TTP is a defunct and proscribed organisation which has caused damage not only to the state institutions and targeted the state high functionaries, but also intensified the wave of terrorism in the past, which would not have been possible without financial support.

The judge maintains that the prosecution proved the case against the appellants on the basis of direct evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022

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