Imran Khan has been booked under blasphemy laws along with 150 others after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was heckled and his delegation was met with abusive language on his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia.
The case was filed by the Punjab police against the ousted prime minister, several former cabinet ministers and key members from his party. Among those named in the charges are former ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.
The complaint has been registered under the blasphemy law of the criminal code, alleging desecration and violating sanctity of the Prophet’s mosque (PBUH) in the holy city of Madinah, hooliganism and hurting the sentiments of Muslims.
The first information report (FIR) was filed by a local resident of Faisalabad city. He alleged more than 100 supporters of Imran Khan were sent to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan and the UK under a “planned and thought out scheme and conspiracy”.
The action comes after several videos emerged on social media showing hundreds of people raising slogans against Shehbaz Sharif’s delegation when they arrived at Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madinah. The videos showed a group of unruly people shouting “thief” and “traitor”, and hurling explicit language, Saudi authorities have arrested five Pakistan nationals allegedly involved in the incident.
Several social media users expressed outrage after the complaint was filed under the blasphemy law. Asad Umar came to his defence and called the charges “ridiculous” saying the PTI chairman has worked for the sake of Islamophobia and spread the message across the world.
Imran Khan has already denied his involvement in the incident. He said the public was angry after he was overthrown and a new government was imposed. He said the incident was public reaction and he cannot think of asking anyone to do sloganeering at the sacred place.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah used the incident and turned his guns towards Imran Khan and his allies, vowing to arrest them if there is any evidence of their involvement.
Blasphemy law is a sensitive matter and should not be used for political matters. It is necessary for the government to show restraint and let the law takes its course of action. It is the duty and moral obligation of every Muslim to respect the sanctity and reverence for our holy sites.