LAHORE: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said three-time prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) chief Nawaz Sharif was convicted on wrong grounds and it was possible that they could restore Punjab’s order regarding the conviction.
“Powers to suspend the conviction lie with the government and the judiciary,” he told a private news channel. The government is considering suspending the sentence of Nawaz Sharif, he said adding that the government had the powers to commute, reduce or suspend anyone’s sentence.
If an innocent is wrongly convicted, there is way that the sentence is suspended and they are given a chance to approach the court in a proper way, he added. Separately, addressing a joint press conference with Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar at the PMLN head-office in Model Town here on Sunday, the interior minister said the government would not interfere in any way in the cases registered on the Masjid-e-Nabvi incident.
He said if people wanted to express their feelings in a legal way, the government could not stop them. If someone takes an illegal path, people have the right to take the legal course against them. He, however, said the government would not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands.
Law Minister Azam Tarar said clauses of blasphemy law had not been added to the FIR registered against people regarding the Masjid-e-Nabvi incident. “The law allows that if a Pakistani citizen commits an act outside Pakistan, which is a crime under the Pakistani law, he can be prosecuted anywhere in Pakistan,” he said adding that the courts might order dismissal of the cases, grant bail or order an investigation and the government will do as per the court orders.
Rana Sanaullah said evidence collected regarding the incident taking place at Masjid-e-Nabvi suggested that it was planned in Pakistan. A group of people went there while another group reached there from the United Kingdom and executed the plan, which saddened the entire Muslim Ummah, especially everyone in Pakistan.
He said that the reprehensible aspect of this whole situation was that they held press conferences and also claimed in their private meetings that it would happen but the government did not take that seriously. This is because politicians do give exaggerated statements and we could not even imagine that they will take their personal vendetta to the holy places, he said.
PM Shehbaz Sharif and the government have given clear instructions to the police and investigation agencies concerned to deal with all such applications in accordance with the law. “If any action is unlawful, then the law will take its course. If no action is recommended, then no legal action will be taken,” he stated.
The federal interior minister said that people who were accused of planning and sending groups to execute the plan would also be investigated by the law enforcement agencies. He said a person was arrested in this regard and was under investigation, as he was telling others on the spot that “we did not allow him offer Juma prayers; he did not come to offer Taraweeh and he is hiding in the hotel, we have stopped him from coming here.”
This act of restraining Allah’s guests at Madina was absolutely unacceptable, Rana Sanaullah said adding Imran Khan during his rule tried to use the state of Madina and Islam for various purposes and personal agenda and still does not stop.
“In the history of the Subcontinent, no one has protested on Chand Raat, and even if any protests were scheduled in Ramazan, those were postponed, but Imran Khan was calling for protests and rallies and asking people to protest on Chand Raat,” he said and added that what kind of politics he has started, what kind of freedom he was talking about as it has been 74 years since we became free and he wanted to take Pakistan back to 1940.
“Keep politics within limits. If you come to anyone’s home, then you will also have to face the consequences; and it will be difficult for you too to come out of your home,” he warned. He said that Imran Khan was using religion in politics, which was a very dangerous trend and this will only be stopped if the nation rejected them.
“Imran Khan is pushing the country towards anarchy and if he succeeds, then the country will have to face very dangerous consequences,” he said adding he should be stopped from this nefarious design at any cost.
The media should also keep an eye on the investigation teams to ensure transparency in the investigation, he said and maintained that if the agencies wanted to arrest someone as a result of the investigation, they should arrest them.
Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said that after the Masjid-e-Nabvi incident, the PM asked about the legal status of the criminal cases that had been registered. The registration of cases is a provincial matter, he said adding if any case will be registered in Islamabad’s territory, then the interior ministry would look into the case.
“This incident is undoubtedly tragic because it happened at the most sacred place,” he said adding both the Penal Code of Pakistan as well as the Criminal Code contained clauses, which were placed in Sections 3 and 4 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Sections 180 to 188 of the Criminal Code that if a Pakistani citizen commits any act outside Pakistan that violates Pakistani law, cases could be registered against that person in Pakistan. He said it was a crime and could be prosecuted anywhere in Pakistan and the suspicion in this regard has been removed.
“A rumour was spread that blasphemy cases have been registered under 295C,” he said and clarified that no such clause was added to the FIR and cases have been registered under 295 and 296, which related to creating fuss at religious places, to stop a person from performing his religious acts of worship and to violate the sanctity of a religious place. He said these laws were not specified for mosques only but were also applicable to gurdwaras, mosques, churches, temples and any other religious place.
About the current ongoing constitutional crisis in Punjab, he said when the Constitution was violated, the law was disobeyed, the law was not listened to and the traditions were removed and stubbornness was shown, then the people have no choice but to go to court. He concluded that there will be no constitutional crisis in Punjab as Hamza Shehbaz had taken the oath of his office and now he was the chief minister of Punjab.