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May 14, 2014

Law applicable to blasphemy of all religions, says CJ

World

AFP
May 14, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Tuesday observed that the blasphemy law was applicable to blasphemy of all religions.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the chief justice and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh and Justice Mushir Alam, heard the sou moto case of bomb blasts at the All Saints Church, Peshawar, as well as other pleas seeking protection of worship places of minorities.
Last year in September, twin explosions at the All Saints Church in Peshawar killed 80 people and wounded over 100.The apex court appointed three advocates as amicus curie (friends of court) for its assistance in chalking out comprehensive guidelines for the law enforcing agencies to provide security to the worship places of minorities across the country.
The court directed the additional IG Sindh to submit a complete report over the recent wave of attacks on temples in the province within a week besides directing the advocate general of Punjab to submit a report in the first week of June over the issue of non-registration of marriages of the minority community.
During the hearing, the CJ observed that desecration of worship places was an important issue, adding that articles 20 and 22 of the Constitution fully protected the rights of the minority community.
“In our view, the promises made in these articles, the concerned authorities not much ensured protection of minorities rights as it should have been as guaranteed under the Constitution,” the CJ remarked.
He said that in the light of these articles, the court will set guidelines for the law enforcing agencies so that they could ensure protection of worship places of minorities. In this respect, the chief justice said that they were going to appoint three advocates, Munir A Malik, Khwaja Haris and Hassan Aurangzeb, as amicus curie to assist the court on this important matter.
The CJ, however, asked the concerned parties in the instant matter, including

representatives of the minority community, to provide the court written suggestions for the protection of their worship places so that the court could address these issues. The CJ said the court will also examine if a special force may be deputed at the worship places or ordinary police so that they could be fully protected.
During the proceedings, Ramesh Kumar, the representative of the Hindu community, informed the court about the recent wave of incidents in Sindh where temples were torched. He said in March, 2014, six incidents of desecration of Hindu temples occurred at Shikarpur, Larkana, Therparkar, Khairpur, Mithi, Hyderabad and the most recent on May 7 at Lee Market, Karachi.
He said the authorities had not brought the miscreants to justice and no case was registered against them.The additional IG Sindh rejected the allegation saying that cases had been registered and they would submit a report before the court within a week.
The court directed the IG Sindh to submit a complete report on the matter within a week. Salim Mikhel, another representative of the minority community, informed the court that the YMCA, an institute in Karachi, was in a bad condition and being run by an unauthorised authority. He said the matter had been pending with the Sindh High Court since 2005, which had appointed the Court Naazir to look after the institution.
Additional Advocate General, Sindh, Mir Qasim Jath, expressed his regrets and assured the court that he will submit a report before the court within a week. Meanwhile, a representative of the Churches of Pakistan informed the court that the issue of non-registration of marriages of minorities still persisted. At this, the court issued a notice to the advocate general Punjab with the direction to submit a reply by the first week of June and adjourned the hearing.