Lahore; December 30, 2021: We report a good news in the closing days of the year 2021. Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Tahir incarcerated in Camp Jail, Lahore has been released on bail by the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The story of his arrest and release is fit for archives.

            Mr. Tahir of Chak 3/S.P. District Okara was booked and arrested by the police, in a petty religious case on 31 March 2021 with FIR No. 217 of P.S. Haveli Lakha. The section applied was 16 M.P.O. that aims at ‘maintenance of public order’. They had accused him of allegedly negative remarks on Facebook program of a madrassah.

            It has now become a routine to deliberately upgrade the charges against Ahmadis in religion-based cases; so the police, on plea of mullas, later upgraded the charge to that of PPC 295-A which provides for10 years’ imprisonment sentence.

            On April 23, 2021, a magistrate Noor Alam rejected the plea for bail of the accused. The poor fellow then appealed this decision with a higher court where Addl. Session Judge Muhammad Shafiq, on June 14, 2021, also rejected the accused’s request.

            In the meantime, the DPO referred this case to the FIA.

            Accordingly, FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing, Lahore entered a fresh FIR No 112 and got Mr. Tahir transferred to a jail in Lahore. An appeal for release on bail was made, and ASJ Syed Ali Abbas rejected this plea on September 2, 2021.

            The accused moved the Lahore High Court against this rejection of his plea for bail. Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi rejected this plea as well, on November 16, 2021.

            Thereafter, Mr. Tahir approached the Supreme Court. There, Justice Tariq Masood, head of the three-member bench, sent for the DPO Okara and the complainant. On December 21, 2021, the Supreme Court accepted post arrest bail application of Mr. Tahir under the FIR registered by the FIA Cybercrime Wing, Lahore and ordered his release. On completion of formalities, he was released on December 30. Furthermore, the FIR registered by Police Station Havelilakha was cancelled by the Police.

            In view of the fact that this ordinary case had become a high profile one, Mr. Tahir decided to stay away from his residence and shifted elsewhere for safety.             An arrest under 16 MPO rarely escalates to end up before the honorable Supreme Court for bail. Only an Ahmadi is granted this status.