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Pakistani Lecturer Junaid Hafeez sentenced to death in blasphemy case

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Multan High Court has convicted a university lecturer Junaid Hafeez of blasphemy and sentenced him to death.

Junaid Hafeez was a lecturer at the Bahauddin Zakariya University in Punjab province’s city of Multan. He was accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran. Junaid Hafeez was accused of having committed blasphemy verbally and on Facebook in 2013.

Pakistan 27/7 Staff keeps you updated with the breaking news and the latest stories from around Pakistan, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Law and Order

Pashtun Activist Manzoor Pashteen Arrested ahead of a planned rally

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Manzoor Pashteen - PTM Leader

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s leader and activist Manzoor Pashteen has been arrested ahead of a rally that was planned to be held on Monday.

According to a report by DW, Manzoor Pashteen, who is has come to the spotlight for his criticism of the Pakistani military, has been arrested on charges of “disturbing public order”.

The 25-year old Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader was arrested late on Sunday from the Shaheen Town area of the northwestern city of Peshawar, according to police official Nabibul Khan.

According to Dawn, the party has been particularly critical of the army’s policies in the country’s tribal belt, where an operation against terrorists was conducted. The PTM has also pursued the release of individuals detained without due process.

Manzoor Pashteen speaking to a Pashtun Tahafuz Movement rally
From archives: Manzoor Pashteen speaking to a Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) rally.

Dawn reported that Manzoor Pashteen was sent to Peshawar’s Central Jail on a 14-day judicial remand by a magistrate hours after he was arrested from Peshawar.

a case was registered against the PTM chief at the City Police Station in DI Khan on Jan 18 under sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 124 (sedition), and 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Sources: Al-Jazeera, DW, DAWN.

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Supreme Court of Pakistan suspends extension of COAS

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General Qamar Javed Bajwa
Photo: AFP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in what many analysts consider as ‘unprecedented’. Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the three-year extension of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

According to Express Tribune, the development came after the chief justice took up a withdrawal application of a petition challenging the army chief’s tenure extension. Justice Khosa rejected the application and took up the petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution under public interest.

The 3-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa suspended the extension of COAS until Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the notification for the reappointment of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for another 3-year tenure was issued on August 19, 2019. General Qamar was set to retire on November 29 on completion of his three-year term. However, after the extension, he would serve as army chief until November 2022.

Defending the move, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan said the Army chief’s tenure had not been extended without securing President Arif Alvi’s approval. “The summary has been approved by the federal cabinet,” he added.

However, the court questioned why a majority of the cabinet had not approved the extension, as only 11 of 25 members voted in favor of it.

The court also questioned the reasoning behind the extension. “Dealing with regional security situation is the job of the Army as an institution, not just of an officer’s,” said the top judge during the proceedings. “If the regional security situation reasoning is accepted, then every Army officer would want a re-appointment.”

The court has issued notices to the defense ministry, the federal government and Gen. Bajwa for the next hearing, which will take place on Wednesday.

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