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Ex-Pak PM Imran Khan, other top PTI leaders booked over Saudi’s Masjid-i-Nabwi protest

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Islamabad: On Sunday, it was revealed that a charge had been filed in Faisalabad against PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan and other prominent officials from the previous administration, days after pilgrims swarmed on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s delegation in Masjid-i-Nabwi and chanted slogans.

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The FIR was filed under the Pakistan Penal Code’s Sections 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with the intent to insult a religion), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 296 (disturbing religious assembly), and 109 (abettment).

Fawad Chaudhry, Shahbaz Gill, Qasim Suri, Sahibzada Jahangir, Aneel Musarrat, and former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed are included in the FIR, which was filed in Faisalabad on the allegation of a common citizen Muhammad Naeem. Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, Rashid’s nephew, is also named in the FIR.

The event at Masjid-i-Nabwi, according to the complainant, was carried out as part of a “well-thought-out strategy and conspiracy.” He said that recordings being circulated on electronic and social media, as well as speeches given by some PTI leaders, backed up his assertions.

He said that Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, Sheikh Rashid, Shahbaz Gill, and Qasim Suri were involved in a plot in which other PTI leaders led delegations to Saudi Arabia to carry out the deeds, which were subsequently broadcast on social media.

Former minister Chaudhry reacted to the news by saying, “A series of FIRs ordered under instructions of interior ministry, bring it on we will fight.”

Pilgrims surround PM Shehbaz and federal ministers, chanting anti-government chants.

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During their three-day visit to Saudi Arabia — their first overseas travel since taking office — a group of Pakistani pilgrims harassed, heckled, and screamed slogans at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his entourage at the Masjid-i-Nabwi in Madina on Friday.

Pakistani pilgrims at the mosque began screaming chants of “chor, chor” (thieves, thieves) as soon as they saw the prime minister, according to videos circulating on social media.

As federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Shahzain Bugti are led by Saudi guards, the pilgrims can be seen heckling and screaming obscenities at them in another video. A pilgrim can be seen yanking Bugti’s hair from behind in another video.

Following the event, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Islamabad’s communications director announced that some of the pilgrims engaged had been arrested. The demonstrators were detained for “violating the regulations” and “disrespecting” the sanctity of the sacred mosque, according to the official.

Politicians and religious leaders were quick to condemn the tragedy, while others blamed the PTI. Imran Khan, for one, said he could “not even imagine” asking anybody to carry out sloganeering at the holy site.

“I have spoken about Islamophobia at every forum,” he said in a snippet from an interview that will be aired on the first day of Eidul Fitr.

Also Read :- Islamabad: Pakistan's ousted PM Imran Khan booked under anti-terror act for threatening police, judiciary

“The reason for doing so is my belief that until you do not love Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), your faith is not complete. I cannot think of asking anyone to do sloganeering at that sacred place. Nobody who loves the Prophet (PBUH) can even think of it,” he said.

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