In what appears to be a public wrath against Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s offensive remarks against State Institutions he uttered at Islamabad’s Constitution Avenue on Wednesday, the people have demanded filing sedition or even high treason cases against the President of Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), the five-party religious alliance.
Flanked by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wherein an 11-party opposition alliance which also included MMA staged a protest against alleged rigging in July 25 polls, Maulana Fazlur Rehman delivered a fiery and outrageous speech, and directly targeted State Institutions for allegedly manipulating elections results.
Maulana even went out to say that they wouldn’t celebrate the upcoming Independence Day on August 14 this year as their mandate had been stolen and they had yet to seize independence from certain State Institutions in Pakistan.
When Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency sought people’s response over Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s remarks, they voiced anguish and termed his remarks tantamount to sedition.
Abdul Shakoor, a resident of Narowal but runs a spare parts shop in Rawalpindi, said he had always been an admirer of Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his religious background and reconciliation approach; however, he added, his anti-State Institutions caused huge embarrassment among his followers.
Sana Haroon, a Student of University of Central Punjab (UCP), also voiced concerns over Maulana’s remarks, saying a mainstream political leader like him should have restrained from using such derogatory remarks against State Institutions. She said their leaders must remain cautious as the Country had already been gripped by multiple challenges; therefore, their irresponsible statements were likely to bring more vulnerability to Pakistan.
When asked for his views on Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s remarks, an apparently infuriated young boy, named Junaid Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, appealed the Supreme Court to take notice of JUI-F Chief’s remarks, and lodge a case against him.
Junaid said there had been demands of trying Nawaz Sharif under Article 6 or Article 19 in the past, then how Maulana Fazlur Rehman could be exempted of. He said no matter how much political worth he possessed, a political leader must not be spared if he maligned State Institutions.
Article 6 of 1973 Constitution deals with high treason and states;
“Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
Article 19 of 1973 Constitution deals with freedom of speech and states;
“Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, 1[commission of] or incitement to an offence.”
Another businessman from Islamabad, Abbas Jadoon, demanded registering a Sedition Case against the JUI-F Chief under Section 153-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), saying Maulana tried to incite the people against State Institutions. He said if they had any proofs of rigging, they must bring them in front; rather than merely levelling allegations and stigmatizing various institutions.
Section 153-A of the PPC;
“PPC’s Section 153-A deals with promoting enmity between different groups, creating disharmony, hatred and ill-will between different religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups, castes or communities”