LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court remanded four leaders of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in police custody on Wednesday for interrogation on a charge of inciting people to violence during protest against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.
Police produced the four leaders — Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Pir Afzal Qadri, Pir Ijaz Ashrafi and Maulana Farooqul Hassan — before the court under tight security with a request for a 60-day physical remand. The court accepted the remand request but for 20 days only. The TLP leaders were already in protective custody of police.
The investigation officer (IO) told the anti-terrorism court that physical remand was required for interrogation, voice matching and recovery of sound system and funding amount.
The investigation officer stated that Maulana Farooqul Hassan was implicated in the case on a statement by Waheed Noor, who was already on physical remand. He said Hassan had also joined Maulana Rizvi and Pir Qadri in their offences.
The defence counsel opposed the remand and asked the court to order medical examination of the suspects as they were not well. He said Maulana Rizvi and Pir Qadri were suffering from diarrhoea.
The ATC judge, Sajjad Ahmad, granted police 20-day physical remand of the suspects and also directed the IO to get the suspects medically examined from a hospital. The judge ordered police to produce the suspects again on Jan 22 after completing the investigation.
In addition to section 7 of the ATA, police had registered an FIR against the suspects under sections 290, 291, 353, 427, 188 and 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The sections deal with offences of creating public nuisance, assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty, mischief, and damaging public and private properties.
Police had taken the TLP leaders into custody following a crackdown on protesters on Nov 23 after the verdict in the Aasia Bibi case. Around 3,000 activists were detained across Punjab in the crackdown.