The judge also fined Maulana Abdul Ghani Rs 750,000

Islamabad : An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced a Muslim cleric to over 10 years in jail for making hate speeches against another sect.

Judge Khalid Arshad sentenced Maulana Abdul Ghani, prayer leader of a mosque at Qaimpur Town near Hasilpur area of Bahawalpur district, to 10 years and four months in jail for making hate speeches against another sect after Fajr prayers.

The judge also fined him Rs 750,000. Police had registered an FIR against Ghani and arrested him after he delivered provocative speeches following Fajr (morning) prayers at the mosque.

The court also convicted four other men for distribution of hate literature. Muhammad Waqas was awarded 3.5 months in jail with a fine of Rs 5,000; Rafiq Ahmed, three months jail along Rs 5,000 fine; Muhammad Zahid, three months and 15 days jail while Talib Husain was jailed for 3.5 months and fined Rs 5,000. Pakistan has a launched crackdown on clerics involved in hate-mongering and spreading extremism in the country.

The curbing of hate-speech is part of National Action Plan which was launched after militants attacked a school in Peshawar in December and killed at least 150 people, mostly students.

According to law, hate speeches and prohibited material is strictly banned in any part of the country. Whosoever violates the law, will be penalized heavily by the law enforcement agencies.

Sajjad Hussain  

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