Lahore High Court judge forced to change his ruling

Lahore High Court, Punjab, Pakistan
Lahore High Court, Punjab, Pakistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moeed Ayaz, Asmatullah, Razaullah and Ghulamullah, employees of Black Arrow Printing Press, were arrested by Islampura police on January 7. On Friday, their bail petitions under Sections 295B (defiling the Holy Quran) and 298C (an Ahmadi calling himself Muslim or preaching his faith) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 24A of the Press and Publications Ordinance were heard at the Lahore High Court.

May 19, the arrested persons of a printing press were presented before the Lahore High Court (LHC) for their bail applications.  The arrested persons were simply the employees of a printing press which was owned by an Ahmadi, the most hated Islamic community in Pakistan.

A judge of the Lahore High Court changed his decision less than two minutes after ruling in favour of the accused in a blasphemy case when lawyers and members of fundamentalist groups threatened him. The judge, in the fear of the dire consequences, quickly withdrew his decision of granting bail to the accused persons.

The Government of Punjab has once again pounced upon the Ahmadiyya Newspaper, ‘Al Fazl’ which is the only paper the community has in Pakistan for the education and information of its members. Al Fazl is completely apolitical and extremely particular to publish items within the framework of the restrictions imposed upon it by the infamous Ordinance XX, issued during the military government of General Zia ul Haq. A group of fundamentalists, Khatme-Nabuwat, supported by the local police and vandals, attacked the Black Arrow Press in Lahore. Whilst the owner of this press is an Ahmadi the employees are not.

During the hearing the courtroom was full and some lawyers had to stand while the judge heard the arguments, after which he approved bail for the suspects. This announcement nearly caused a riot in the courtroom and the judge had to withdraw the order barely two minutes after he had pronounced it. He then referred the case to the Chief Justice for fixing it before another judge. A group of 35 lawyers came to oppose the bail application of the printing press employees because the lawyers claimed they were from the Ahmadi sect.

The judge had to withdraw the order after harsh remarks from one particular lawyer who was part of the group who had appeared before the court to argue the case against the Ahmadis. When this lawyer used harsh remarks against the judge the other lawyers and some people from a fundamentalist group shouted slogans against the judge and verbally insulted him with malicious remarks.

The courtroom was full and some lawyers had to stand while the judge heard the arguments, after which he approved the bails for the suspects. This announcement nearly caused a riot in the courtroom and the judge had to withdraw the order barely two minutes after he had pronounced it. He then referred the case to the chief justice for fixing it before another judge. The judge withdrew the order after harsh remarks from a lawyer who was part of a group of 35 lawyers who had appeared before the court to argue the case against the Ahmedis. Some jurists said it was ‘improper’ for the judge to withdraw his order, whether verbal or written. He should have considered the repercussions, they said, before announcing the order rather than withdrawing it later.

The courtroom was full and some lawyers had to stand while the judge heard the arguments, after which he approved the bails for the suspects. This announcement nearly caused a riot in the courtroom and the judge had to withdraw the order barely two minutes after he had pronounced it. He then referred the case to the chief justice for fixing it before another judge. The judge withdrew the order after harsh remarks from a lawyer who was part of a group of 35 lawyers who had appeared before the court to argue the case against the Ahmedis. Some jurists said it was ‘improper’ for the judge to withdraw his order, whether verbal or written. He should have considered the repercussions, they said, before announcing the order rather than withdrawing it later.

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