Youhanabad lynching: Christian suspects asked to convert in return for release

Published: March 30, 2017
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LAHORE: A prosecutor has reportedly asked members of a minority community facing trial in an anti-terrorism court over lynching of two men that he ‘can guarantee their acquittal’ if they renounce their faith and embrace Islam, rights activists claim.

Some 42 Christians have been charged with lynching the two men after twin suicide blasts targeting a Sunday Mass in two churches in the Christian neighbourhood of Youhanabad in Lahore on March 15, 2015.

14 dead, 75 injured in attack on Lahore’s Christian community

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with a mob lynching the two men, suspecting them of involvement in the blasts.

“Taking advantage of their presence at ATC-1 Lahore, Deputy District Public Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah gathers the accused outside the courtroom and asks them to embrace Islam,” said Joseph Franci, a rights activist who was involved in providing legal assistance to the accused in the case. “He asks them if they embrace Islam, he can guarantee them their acquittal in this case,” Joseph said.

The activist said they [the accused] remained silent and were dumbfounded and added that one, Irfan Masih, had spoken out and said that he was ready to be hanged if he embraced Islam.

8 Youhanabad lynching suspects arrested

Naseeb Anjum Advocate, counsel for some of the accused, told The Express Tribune said that the public prosecutor’s offer was not new and added that he had also given this offer to some of the accused about six months back but they simply ignored it.

“They [lawyers] believe in independence of the court, but why is the DDPP blackmailing them?”

“The government should get rid of such elements that bring bad name to the state by such acts.”

Syed Anees Shah, when contacted, at first said that he did not ask them to embrace Islam, but conceded that he offered them a choice when he was told that the accused have video recording of what he said. Later, he disconnected the call in an attempt to avoid discussing the issue.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Zaida Parvez
    Mar 30, 2017 - 10:12AM

    What kind of madness is this? Replace one crime with another??
    Little wonder that the world has no respect for us.Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Mar 30, 2017 - 10:58AM

    This is wrong, punish the criminals…Recommend

  • Truth
    Mar 30, 2017 - 11:08AM

    This is how the minorities will get justice? Recommend

  • Feroz
    Mar 30, 2017 - 11:10AM

    Shameful that the inhabitants of the great Indus Valley Civilization have become such rabid religious fanatics, forgetting both history and heritage. A curse on their ancestors !Recommend

  • shesh 25
    Mar 30, 2017 - 11:14AM

    Shame on you Pakistan !!! Forceful Conversion. Thats why the minority Hindus and Christians in Pakistan have dwindled. Check out the figures from 1947 Vs now in 2017…Recommend

  • Toti calling
    Mar 30, 2017 - 11:19AM

    That is called forced conversion and bribe. Shameful attitudes. Recommend

  • Eirabie
    Mar 30, 2017 - 12:05PM

    The provincial government should simply fire the prosecutor, and courts should take away his license for bringing disrepute to Islam and Pakistan.Recommend

  • Nael
    Mar 30, 2017 - 12:21PM

    Imagine the outcry if some muslim in the US or Europe was jailed and then forced to convert to Christianity to be released.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 30, 2017 - 1:17PM

    Just days ago Nawaz loudly proclaimed that minorities have equal rights and are to be protected…… our was that again a political statement.Recommend

  • omar
    Mar 30, 2017 - 1:31PM

    @Nael:
    it happens all the time, but no out cry.Recommend

  • Pukubanger
    Mar 30, 2017 - 1:56PM

    Now I know why we should have nuclear war, one good thing it does is annihilation of people en masse. India, get ready, Hindus and Muslims of Pakistan can never be friends. Only one of us is entitled to survive and the other must get annihilated. God will decide who should survive. Recommend

  • powayman
    Mar 30, 2017 - 2:55PM

    An you wonder why Pakistan has such a terrible International reputation? Recommend

  • Ch. Anjum
    Mar 30, 2017 - 3:18PM

    @omar:
    care to provide some evidence?Recommend

  • Shahid
    Mar 30, 2017 - 3:30PM

    This prosecutor’s license should be cancelled! MadnessRecommend

  • Grist
    Mar 30, 2017 - 6:34PM

    Thank you Jinnah!Recommend

  • Dhanus Menon
    Mar 30, 2017 - 9:11PM

    Pakistanis at their best Recommend

  • Irritated sultan
    Mar 30, 2017 - 11:12PM

    Tribune stop using ads in middle of story!!! It ruins whole experienceRecommend

  • Pakistani Baluch
    Mar 31, 2017 - 4:15AM

    Just when you thought Pakistanis coud not get any weirder…They get weirder.

    Punish mob justice.

    Sack the public prosecuter and get some one with at least half a brain.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Mar 31, 2017 - 5:41AM

    The converts, who converted under force and fear, now forcing others.Recommend

  • Zohaib
    Mar 31, 2017 - 7:32AM

    I wonder why Amnesty International and other human rights champions in the West never highlight such issues. Recommend

  • Dervaish khan
    Mar 31, 2017 - 7:48AM

    Those who understand the spirit of Islam will never advocate such a conversion. The prosecutor seems to be totally ignorant about Islam. He should try to save his own faith rather.Recommend

  • Ch. K. A. Nye
    Mar 31, 2017 - 4:46PM

    @Pukubanger:

    What a stupid, crass comment advocating the mass murder of an entire group of people based on their religious belief. You definitely need help…. Recommend

  • Bhaijaan
    Apr 1, 2017 - 4:57PM

    That is how Allama Iqbal became a Muslim after his grandfather, a Kashmiri Pandit, was offered the same proposition. “There is no compulsion in religion. To you yours, to me mine”???????Recommend

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