The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights met on Monday here at Parliament House under the Chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal to take cognizance of the registration of FIRs involving the recent incident of Sloganeering against Pakistan’s official delegation at Pilgrimage in Masjid-i-Nabwi.
The officials from Ministry of Interior apprised the committee that information is still being gathered on the statistics of FIRs registered on the subject to date all over the country. The Ministry of interior also proposed the committee to give directions to refer the matter of offense committed in Saudia Arabia to the foreign office through the mission to seek cases and people involved in the subject matter in Saudia Arabia to obtain clarity on the matter.
The additional IG operations informed the committee that 2 FIRs have been registered on the subject matter; one in Attock and other one in Faisalabad while many applications/complaints have also been received but no further FIR has been registered.
To the question raised by the Committee on whether or not the compliance of section 196 of the code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 have taken place before the registration of the FIR, the CPO and RPO, Faisalabad replied that there is no bar on registration of FIR, however for the cognizance by the court, order/sanction of the provincial government is required. The Interior Ministry also informed that one person has been arrested in the case so far. The representatives from the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) acquainted the committee that the FIA has not registered any case in this regard.
The Chairman committee sought more details on the data and statics of the FIRs registered in the next meeting. The Faisalabad administration ensured the committee that further investigation on the matter of FIRs will be dealt with in accordance to law and considerable care.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan strongly condemned the fake and frivolous accusation of the blasphemy law intended for political victimization and termed it as the first example of this kind to gain political scoring. Nasreen Azhar, member of council HRCP said that an apology, if such an incident has occurred at the Holy Place of Masjid-i-Nabwi, is more appropriate than filing an FIR without keeping in mind the legality of the accusation involved and provoking the sentiments of the general public.
Representatives from various institutions exchanged views on the measures to eliminate the misuse of the blasphemy law and suggested that amendments are required to be made in the law to discourage such accusations. The committee was informed that 580 cases under accusation for blasphemy were filed last year which is increasing by 100 pc.
The Committee decided to seek further details and pend the matter till next meeting to be held on 16th May, 2022.
The meeting was attended by Senators Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Seemee Ezdi, Falak Naz, Mehr Taj Roghani and Senator Kamran Michael. Minister for Human Rights Mian Raiz Hussain Pirzada, along with senior officials from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry for Human Rights, FIA, Faisalabad Administration and National Commission for Human Rights and representatives of Human Rights Organizations and Civil Society were also in attendance.