Pakistan: Aurat March organisers condemn FIR over ‘blasphemy’

Pakistan Aurat March organisers condemn FIR over 'blasphemy'

ISLAMABAD: Aurat March organisers in Islamabad have condemned and expressed concern over the first information report (FIR) registered in a Peshawar Police Station on the charge of committing blasphemy.

According to The News International, an official said that a team headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police Investigation was looking into the matter after the lodging of the case.
On Thursday, Aurat March organisers and participants were booked by Peshawar Police on the orders of a local court on the charge of committing blasphemy.

In the FIR, the complainants said the Aurat March was held in Islamabad and other cities of the country on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on March 8.

The FIR was registered at the East Cantonment police station, under sections 295-A and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with ‘malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion and use of derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’.

“The Peshawar Police had nothing to do with the event as it was not held in their area. The team will look into the matter from all angles and will decide whether or not Peshawar Police can investigate the matter that wasn’t held in their jurisdiction,” The News International quoted an official as saying.

The official said the police had once filed an appeal to avoid the FIR but lodged it later on the directives of the court. Aurat March organisers stated that the women marchers have been receiving countless death and rape threats since the event was held. “These accusations and threats have now gone too far as we have been falsely accused of blasphemy, an accusation that gravely endangers the lives of 100s of women,” the statement read.

“We are being incriminated for crimes we never committed, slogans that were never raised and banners that were never carried.

“This makes it even more clear that the registered FIR in Peshawar is mala-fide and a gross miscarriage of justice. Aurat March Islamabad will stand tall against extremist, reactionary and patriarchal forces. We will not retract and we will not bow down in submission. We are hopeful that justice will prevail and criminals, liars and religious bigots will be brought before the law,” it added. (ANI) 

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