Muneeb says blasphemy accused be tried by FSC

LAHORE: Religious scholars belonging to the Sunni school of thought have proposed that accused in blasphemy cases should be tried by the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) and the changes introduced by former president Gen (retd) Musharraf’s regime should continue.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman condemned the incident in Lahore in which over 150 houses belonging to Christians were burnt down and said the changes made in the FIR had made registration of blasphemy cases difficult, leading to unrest among Muslims.

Allama Ragheb Naeemi and other religious leaders and scholars were present on the occasion.

Mufti Muneeb said the accused in blasphemy cases should be tried directly by the Federal Shariat Court and the cases should be adjudicated within three months.

He opposed imposition of penalty for the accuser(s) in such cases, arguing that no punishment existed for falsehood in other cases.

Mufti Muneeb also pinpointed the electronic media personnel to refrain from acting like judges in their talk shows.

Mufti Muneeb said that defamation of sacred religious personalities should be declared a crime under international law.

Mufti Muneeb said a proposal in this regard had been forwarded to some Western diplomats during a dialogue at the Governor House in Karachi.

He suggested that people belonging to religious minorities should be called “non-Muslim Pakistanis” as the term “minority” gave a negative impression. He condemned the bombing at Karachi’s Abbas Town and criticised the television channels for terming it an attack on Shias even though many Sunnis also died in it.