A local court in Lahore apologized to the owner of a cigarette and paan shop who had to spend six years in prison to appeal his five-day imprisonment, ordered by a special magistrate on the basis of the ‘Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance’.
Iqbal was given five-day imprisonment in 2013 by a magistrate for selling paan in Month of Ramazan.
Under the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, 1981, it is illegal for Muslims to eat or drink in public from sunrise to sunset in Ramazan.
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While Iqbal challenged the verdict immediately and called for” Insaf”, the appeal process ended up taking six years in what was a mockery of not only the justice system as well as its ability to address grievances.
Lamenting the behavior of the special magistrate, the judge remarked that such decisions were not given in medieval times. “The magistrate wasted six years of an innocent person and these six years cannot be given back to him.”
The sessions court not only released the accused but also apologized to him for the wrongful imprisonment. The verdict also noted that the magistrate made the wrong decision by sending the vendor to prison. Furthermore, the five-day sentence was contrary to the law, it noted.