LAHORE: An additional district and sessions judge has fixed February 7 for arguments on the after-arrest bails of four men accused of publishing allegedly blasphemous books about the Ahmadi faith.
Moeed Ayaz, Asmatullah, Razaullah and Ghulamullah, employees of Black Arrow Printing Press, were arrested on January 7 as they loaded a small truck with thousands of books and CDs. The four accused are Ahmadis. Arrest warrants have been issued for the printing press’s owner, who is at large.
The lawyer for the accused, in their post-arrest bail pleas, said that local police had acted illegally against his clients as they had arrested them on the basis of a call made to 15 before an FIR had been registered, as was evident from the statement of the complainant.
He said that even if the complaint were true, his clients should have been charged under Sections 6 (literal distortion of ayah text), 7 (translation or interpretation of Holy Quran contrary to belief of Muslims) and 9 (penalty) of the Punjab Holy Quran (Printing and Recording) Act of 2011 – which carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison – rather than Sections 295B (defiling the Holy Quran) and 298C (an Ahmadi calling himself a Muslim or preaching his faith) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.