ISLAMABAD- The Islamabad High Court today during the hearing over a blasphemy petition filed by the Shuhada Foundation issued notices to all those party to the case.
The court while adjourning the hearing over the petition to an unspecified date, issued notices to Federal Information Secretary, chief executive of ARY, anchors Mubashir Lucman, Nida Yasir and Shaisata Lodhi, Amjad Sabri Qawwal, poet Aqeel Mohsin Naqvi, chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and Chairman Cable Operators Association of Pakistan.
In his petition, advocate Tariq Asad said that the issue of alleged blasphemy in a Geo morning show was being highlighted only to target the Geo group, and what occurred in the morning show had been carried out by other media houses but no action was taken against them. He requested the court to take action against other channels who had engaged in the same activity as Geo. Advocate Asad said that he was not specifically in favour of Geo and had also filed petitions against the group in the past, adding that he only sought to curb any wrongdoing.
He further said that anchor Mubashir Lucman was engaged in a character assassination campaign against former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The petition also put the onus on Qawwal Amjad Sabri and poet Aqeel Mohsin Naqvi for the blasphemy row while seeking to ban the Qawaali that caused the issue. An FIR had been registered by the police today against Geo TV channel owner Mir Shakeelur Rehman, its morning programme host Shaista Lodhi, actress Veena Malik and her husband Asad Bashir Khattak.
The case was registered under PPC’s sections 295-A deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, 295-C use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Prophet (PBUH) and 298-A use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages.The suspects were also booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act punishment for terrorist act.
The already deeply worrying events in the media landscape have taken a frightening turn with the reaction in several quarters to the Geo morning entertainment show debacle. The Geo programme, Utho Jago Pakistan, made a critical error of judgement by trying to fuse sensitive religious material with crass entertainment.