LAHORE: The police on Saturday declared all senior PML-N leadership innocent, except for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in a sedition case lodged with the Shahdara police recently and also removed four sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) from the FIR.
The development came late on Saturday after a meeting held between the special investigation team probing into the case and Lahore’s Capital City Police Officer Umar Sheikh.
The sedition case was registered against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and senior PML-N leadership, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, on Monday.
The federal government distanced itself from the move as Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his displeasure over the development.
Besides Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, 41 other senior leaders of the party were nominated in the case on the complaint of local resident and PTI activist Badar Rasheed.
Four sections of PPC also removed from FIR
The complainant alleged that the former premier delivered “hateful speeches” against the state, its institutions and the nation while addressing the opposition’s multiparty conference and his party’s Central Working Committee and Central Executive Committee on Sept 20 and Oct 1.
He said the party leaders who were attending these meetings endorsed speeches of Mr Sharif by raising hands.
He said the purpose of calling these meetings and the speeches of Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N leaders was to endorse the policy of India aimed to get Pakistan declared ‘a rogue state’ and to keep its name on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force.
The FIR was registered under section 10 of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (2016) and sections 124-A (sedition), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan), 120 (concealing design to commit offence punishable with imprisonment) 120-A (criminal conspiracy), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishing of its sovereignty), 124 (assaulting President, Governor, etc., with intention to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the PPC. According to the FIR, Mr Sharif instigated his party leaders, state institutions and the nation to treason against Pakistan while using the media from abroad (London).
The late-night statement issued by the police chief said the special investigation team had thoroughly investigated the case and found all the politicians, including the Azad Kashmir PM, “innocent”.
It said the team recorded written and video statements of the complainant and reached the conclusion that the politicians nominated in the treason case had not endorsed the hateful speeches of Mr Sharif at the two meetings of the party.
Consequently, the police have decided not to take action against them (nominated politicians), except Mr Sharif.
The police further stated that in the light of the investigation, four sections of the PPC — 121-A, 123-A, 124 and 153-A — had been removed from the FIR.