Interior Minister indicted for terrorism

ISLAMABAD/ GUJRAT:

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday at Gujrat Industrial Zone Police Station for allegedly intimidating and threatening the judiciary and government officials.

The FIR, a copy of which is available from The Express Tribune, was registered on a complaint by a citizen, Aslam, under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (suppression of acts of terrorism) and Sections 353 (aggression or criminal violence deterring an official from performing his duties), 186 (obstruction of an official in the performance of his public duties), 189 (threat of injury to an official) and 506 (penalty for criminal intimidation) of the Code Pakistani criminal.

The complaint stated that Sanaullah, during his speeches on April 16, 2021 and January 29, 2022, threatened to prevent the judiciary from carrying out its constitutional functions and to kill children of government officials.

The FIR also reproduced the remarks of the Minister of the Interior, which it said were broadcast on a broadcast by a private television channel on August 21, 2022.

Read more: ATC approves bail for Imran until September 1 in terrorism case

“The purpose of Sanaullah’s statements was to terrorize the judiciary, the chief secretary, the commissioner, government officials and the people of the country,” FIR said. “Its purpose was to prevent public servants from working and to prevent them from carrying out their legal responsibilities.”

The report said Sanaullah’s remarks struck fear into the judiciary, administration, bureaucracy, police and the nation.

It was argued in the FIR that the Home Secretary should be investigated for his remarks and taken to task “to set an example for other citizens who speak out against government officials”.

The development was also shared by Punjab Home Minister Hashim Dogar on Twitter. “Today, the police registered an FIR against Rana Sanaullah at Gujrat Industrial Police Station for threatening honorable magistrates and government officials. The allegations are [of a] serious [nature] and action will be taken in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi also took to his official Twitter account to announce that Sanaullah had made a “false case” against PTI chairman Imran Khan. “Now the people have built a real case against you,” he said, adding that the interior minister would soon be arrested.

Moonis was referring to a terrorism case filed against Imran for ‘threatening’ a female judge and senior police officers at a rally in Islamabad on Saturday that drew heavy criticism from the government, the minister of justice. Interior saying the PTI president would not be allowed to challenge state authority by inciting rebellion.

Meanwhile, a contempt of court motion has been filed against Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The petition was filed by a lawyer named Ali Ijaz Buttar at the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

PML-N leaders Attaullah Tarar and Marriyum Aurangzeb were also named parties to the said petition.

The petitioner claimed that social media revealed that Maryam and others are disrespecting institutions including the judiciary. However, he added, they handle government business.

He said the parties had repeatedly used derogatory language towards the high court judges.

He added that through these statements, questioning the credibility of the judiciary, an attempt was made to undermine public confidence in the judiciary.

The petitioner also submitted the transcript of Maryam’s July 25 press conference with his petition. He also requested that the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) be tasked with submitting the transcript of the pressers against the judiciary.

The petition called for contempt of court proceedings to be initiated against Maryam and others.

Betty K. Park