Pakistan arts college staff accused of blasphemy

Blasphemy

The principal and staff of Pakistan's first college of arts are facing accusations of blasphemy for including paintings and a feature that allegedly support homosexuality and ridicule Islamic values in the institution's annual journal.

An additional district and sessions judge on Tuesday directed the chief of Old Anarkali police station to act in accordance with law on an application seeking the registration of a criminal case against the administration of the National College of Arts in Lahore.

The application filed with police contended that the college's principal and staff had published paintings and a feature that "favoured homosexuality" and ridiculed Islamic values in the annual journal "Sohbat".

Judge Sajjad Ahmad issued the order in response to a petition filed by a man named Abad Ali and directed the police station chief to lodge an FIR if any cognizable offence was made out against the respondents.

The petitioner's counsel Mumtaz Ahmad Mangat argued that the college's principal and other members of its administration were liable to be prosecuted for disgracing the Quran and ridiculing Islam.

He asked the court to direct police to register a case against the respondents under the blasphemy law and the Anti-Terrorism Act.

NCA Principal Fauzia Qureshi and the editorial board and publisher of the journal were named as respondents in the petition.

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