Offence against any religion comes under blasphemy laws, says CJP

* Justice Jillani annoyed over non-registration of cases against arsonists who attacked Hindu temples in Sindh * Hints at order for setting up new force to protect minorities

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Tuesday remarked that according to the Pakistan Penal Code’s (PPC) Article 295 “offence” against any religion falls under the blasphemy laws.
Justice Jillani said that the apex court would “share the grievances of the minorities” and can direct establishment of a “new force” to safeguard the minorities. The CJP gave these remarks during a hearing of the suo motu case of the bomb blast in a church in Peshawar and rights of the minorities while presiding over a three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC). The chief justice expressed his anger over non-registration of cases against those involved in setting temples ablaze in Sindh. 
Justice Jillani told the minorities’ representatives that due to the importance of the case the apex court would appoint amicus curiae – Munir A Malik, Khawaja Haris and Hassan Aurangzaib – who would assist the court in the matter without charging any fee. He directed the minorities’ representatives to submit a report which should indicate sections where the material has been used to abuse the minorities and identify areas where law enforcing agencies failed to secure their life and property. 
A representative of the minorities, Rameesh Kumar apprised the court that during the last two months six untoward incidents have happened with the Hindu community, in which their temples were set ablaze and their religion was not properly honoured. He also said that the miscreants were not brought to justice, while four of the incidents fell under the purview of the blasphemy law. Sindh Police Additional Inspector General Ali Sher Jhakrani informed the court that the police have arrested five people involved in torturing the minorities’ members, but cases against them were not registered under the blasphemy law.
The CJP directed the Sindh IGP to submit a detailed report over the action taken by the police in this context, within a week. The court also directed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general to submit a detailed report over the Hindu samadhi in Karak District. Justice Helpline member Salim Michael told the court that the Young Man Christian Association is a prestigious institution located in Karachi, but it is in a bad shape and its property is being misused by some people, while the matter is sub judice in the Sindh High Court. 
He said that the SHC had appointed a nazir to look after the affairs of the club till the final decision. Meanwhile, Ramesh Kumar said that according to the Liaqat-Nehru pact the chairman of the Evacuee Property Trust should be a Hindu. On this, the chief justice remarked that the political situation between the two nations was not good which was why the accord was not implemented on both sides, but the apex court is trying to facilitate them on humanitarian grounds. The chief justice hailed the role of the Indian Supreme Court for the welfare of minorities in India. The court adjourned the hearing for one week.

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