LAHORE: The principal secretaries to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Wednesday gave an undertaking before the Lahore High Court regarding the implementation of a 2019 verdict requiring action against the people involved in publication of unauthentic copies of the Holy Quran.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan was hearing a petition by Hassan Muawiyah, who alleged that the Ahmadi community and other non-Muslims continued to publish and upload copies of the Holy Quran with distorted Arabic text and mutilated translation on the internet and Google Play Store only to mislead Muslims.

The Principal Secretary (PS) to the PM, Dr Tauqir Shah, told the judge that the premier had been apprised of the court’s orders, and he had decided to place the matter before the cabinet and form a committee in this regard.

Justice Khan hailed the decision.

Dr Shah said a complete action plan would be presented before the court at the next hearing.

The PS to CM, Muhammad Khan Bhatti, told the court that the chief minister had presided over two meetings on the matter.

The judge observed that the court’s prime concern was not the number of meetings conducted by the government, but implementation of the order.

Mr Bhatti said the order would be implemented in letter and spirit.

“When will it be implemented? Should we adjourn the case for 2050?” Justice Khan asked Mr Bhatti with annoyance.

He observed that apparently the provincial government did not want to enforce the verdict. He directed both the governments to submit detailed compliance reports on the next hearing.

The petitioner contended that repeated applications had been filed with the home department and police for action against the suspects in light of the judgement. The conduct of the respondent authorities was in violation of the law and the court’s decision.

In its 2019 judgement, the court had ordered the government to ensure the copies of Holy Quran were duly approved by the Quran Board before their publication in press and on the internet. The court had also directed the Quran Board and the government to keep a vigilant eye on the publication and printing of any religious material, in particular the Holy Quran, against its original text or authentic meaning.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022

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