Court orders blasphemy case be lodged against Geo
By Mohammad Ashraf, Correspondent
Karachi: A district court in the capital city on Saturday ordered the police to register a case against the owner of Geo TV and the team of its morning showUtho Jago Pakistan under blasphemy and terrorism laws for alleged mockery of highly revered personalities of Islam.
The Islamabad additional session judge Jahangir Awan had ordered the police to register the case against Mir Shakilur Rehman, Geo TV owner; Shaista Lodhi, the host of the programme; and other members of the team of the morning show.
The judge in his orders specified the invocation of sections 295-A, 295-C and 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) which mainly address defaming religious personalities. The judger further ordered an inclusion of a section under the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA). Thus the trial will be run in an anti-terrorism court, that hands fast-track verdicts.
A similar plea was also made in a district court in Lahore city where the judge reserved the verdict regarding registering the blasphemy case against the Geo owner and his team and Veena Malek, the controversial actress of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Bar Council on Saturday passed a resolution against Geo TV condemning it for broadcasting a blasphemous programme last week which provoked Muslims all across the country.
The Bar demanded immediate ban on the Geo TV broadcast and banned the Geo reporters and camerapersons from covering their events. The Bar in its resolution said that defaming religious personalities had hurt millions of Muslims across the world who watched Geo TV.
The lawyers in Sukkur, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and other cities boycotted the court proceedings to protest against Geo TV.
The provincial Punjab assembly had already passed a resolution on Friday demanding Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ban Geo TV.
Until recently Geo was Pakistan’s top TV channel but was caught in a bitter controversy after it blamed Pakistan’s apex intelligence agency for shooting Hamid Mir, the renowned anchor of Geo TV. Not sooner had the dust settled when Lodhi, the host broadcast the blasphemous programme, on Thursday enraged its millions of viewers.
The reporters of Geo also sabotaged the press conference of Cable Operators Association of Pakistan at Karachi Press Club (KPC), which is considered a symbol of freedom of expression where the oppressed come to raise their voice.