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Saba Qamar, Bilal Saeed acquitted in mosque sanctity case

They were accused for shooting a song in mosque in 2020

LAHORE: A district and sessions court in Lahore on Monday acquitted actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in a case relating to the alleged desecration of Wazir Khan mosque, ruling that the charges against them were “groundless”.

Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Mushtaq accepted the Qamar and Saeed’s acquittal pleas and set aside the order passed by a judicial magistrate on March 2, stating that it was “not sustainable in the eyes of the law”.

In March, a judicial magistrate had dismissed their acquittal applications in the same case after which they had filed an appeal in the sessions court.

In an eight-page detailed verdict released today, Judge Mushtaq said the investigating officer did not find any evidence to suggest that the two intentionally damaged, defiled or disrespected the place of worship.

“Rather, they being artists, joined the shooting with prior permission from the Auqaf department and religious affair[s] department, government of Punjab, Lahore,” the verdict said.

“During the investigation of the case, no music player was taken into possession,” the judge observed, adding that all the witnesses were not present at the alleged place of occurrence and had seen the clip on social media.

“So nothing has come on surface that [the] petitioners played any song at the place of worship, therefore, in my view the charge against the petitioners would be said as groundless, and when the charge would be groundless, there would be no need [for] the trial of the case,” the judge said.

In August 2020, a case was registered against the celebrities by the police on the complaint of lawyer Farhat Manzoor. Saba and Bilal were facing charges of violating the sanctity of Wazir Khan mosque by dancing inside the premises during the shooting.

In October 2021, the duo was indicted in the case. However, they had pleaded not guilty and decided to contest the trial. Earlier this year in March, a judicial magistrate had dismissed the duo’s acquittal pleas following which they had filed an appeal in the sessions court.

During the trial process, Qamar and Saeed had also apologised for the incident and issued explanations that shed further light on the video shoot’s context.

 

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