- Two-member division bench restrains police from making any arrests
A division bench of the Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit on Friday stayed the proceedings in a case against four people who were booked on charges of blasphemy in Jamshoro, a private TV channel reported.
On Thursday, a first information report (FIR) was registered under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against four people after a video clip surfaced showing a woman solemnising the marriage of a man and a woman under what was called “Shariat-i-Latifi” – the code of Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
The video showed a follower of the Sufi saint, getting the nikkah of his daughter performed by a woman, declaring that this was being done under the ‘Shariat-i-Latifi’. In the video, the bride’s father invites the first woman to solemnise the marriage while reciting Bhitai’s poetry.
“This will be the first nikkah which will be performed on the basis of ‘Shariat-i-Latifi’ and in the Sindhi language,” the clip showed the father as saying. Besides the man, his daughter, the woman who performed the nikkah and the groom had been named in the FIR.
As the father of the bride was taken into custody, the woman seen solemnising the marriage in the video filed a constitutional petition in the SHC naming the Sindh home secretary and others as respondents. The division bench, comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Fahim Ahmad Siddiqui, restrained the police from making any arrests in the matter.
The bench also issued notices to the respondents and the additional advocate general of Sindh for Sept 30. Sindhi intellectuals condemned the case against the woman who solemnised the marriage and others. The lawyer who is representing the case in the Sindh High Court asked the state to take responsibility for her protection.