Looking back: Not a single person convicted for Gojra riots

Accused were released on bail after petitioners and witnesses were pressured to withdraw their statements.

Asad Kharal March 10, 2013
Rioters in Gojra ran amok over rumours of desecration of the Holy Quran. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Of the 1,000 accused in the 2009 horrific Gojra riots, where eight Christians were burnt alive and 60 houses torched, not even one has been convicted thus far, The Express Tribune has learned.

On July 31 2009, Christian Colony in Gojra, Toba Tek Singh, was set ablaze by a Muslim mob. During the subsequent inquiry, a total of 185 witnesses submitted written statements, while five went abroad.

The police had registered two cases. In the first case, 70 people were nominated by the complainant, of which 68 were granted bail-before-arrest by the court. The remaining two – Atif alias Neeru and Ghulam Abbas – were detained. Atif and Abbas were on surety bonds worth Rs100,000 each.

One case was registered in August 2009 at the Gojra police station by Almas Hameed Masih, a resident of the Christian Colony. Seventy people were nominated in the FIR while 800 were unidentified. Almas Masih’s father, wife, sister, brother, sister-in-law and two children were burnt alive in their house where Almas had locked them for protection and he himself was firing to defend himself from the rooftop of the house. Almas was injured while his relatives were burnt alive when the mob set his house on fire.

All the accused were released on bail after the petitioners and witnesses were pressured to withdraw their statements and file affidavits in favour of the accused. As a result, the complainants stated that the accused were named by mistake and had no role in the incident.

On condition of anonymity, a Christian resident of Gojra told The Express Tribune that the relatives of a Muslim who was arrested had pressured them to withdraw their stances.

Despite this, the case is still pending before a special anti-terrorism court in Faisalabad, which in 2012 had deferred the hearing for non-appearance of the complainants before the court to record their statements.

In the second FIR, 21 accused were nominated and hundreds were unidentified.

As both complainants were not in Pakistan, the court stated that it would take up the matter upon their return to the country. The court issued this order by accepting two applications that were moved before it, from both the accused and prosecutors, suggesting the issuance of a stay order on the case.


Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013. 


Naresh | 11 years ago | Reply

@Omer . *@first be human then …., what? You handled Gujrat very well?

@ E.T Why do you let these no good Indian comment here?

@ Govt of Punjab. Shame on you. There is not much difference between Modi and Nawaz Shariff.

@ Minorities of Pakistan. Most Pakistanis are with, and we will support you.* . In Gujrat "THE CAUSE the Initial Attackers were Muislims who BURNT OVER 50 HINDU YATRIS (PILGRIMS) in the Train Compartment. . THE EFFECT The retaliation - agreed - was far more larger, but THEN THE EFFECT IS NOTHING BUT ANOTHER MANIFESTATION OF THE CAUSE i.e. HAD THERE BEEN NO CAUSE THERE WOULD BE NO EFFECT . In the Land of the Pure where the Majority Professes the Religion of Peace there is only the Cause i.e. Minorities are Slaughtered and the Minorities being the Minorities have no strength to RETALIATE! . Regarding Most Pakistanis being with the Minorities and your statement WE WILL SUPPORT YOU - Please give us ONE, ONLY ONE INSTANCE where the Minorities have had the support of the Majority and if there is any increase in the Percentage of the Minority(ies’) Population vis-à-vis the MAJORITY POPULATION OF PAKISTAN. . Cheers

gp65 | 11 years ago | Reply @Omer: @first be human then …., what? You handled Gujrat very well? Actually unlike Gojra which was a unilateral attack on Christians, Gujarat 2002 was a riot where both Hindus and Muslims died. IT was triggered by a Muslim mob burning a train coach of Hindu pilgrims. Plus unlike Gojra where no one was convicted 33 Hindus were mongst those convicted for the riots. Also while in Pakistan the attacks using blasphemy as a tool have continued, Gujarat has had NO communal riots in the last 11 years. SO yes, Gujarat was handled very differently and much better than how Pakistan is handling the oppression of its minorities. @ E.T Why do you let these no good Indian comment here? If you disagree with any specific content by the Indians, say so. This unnecessary hatred for Indians has not served your country well. In fact it is also the source for the hatred that is turning PAkistani against PAkistani. Stop hating 'others' if you want your country to come out of this morass. @ Minorities of Pakistan. Most Pakistanis are with, and we will support you. The support is not evident when the attacks continue to happen, when 2 politicians who spoke about reforming the blasphemy law were shot dead and third one (Sherry Rehman) has been charged with blasphemy simply for introducing amendments to the implementation aspects of the law, when educated lawyers garland Qadri and judge sentencing him to death has to flee the country. Evidence of your support for minorities was also conspicuous by its absence when the 100 Ahmadi graves were desecrated and also in the Rinkle Kumari case which forced so many Hindus to seek asylum in India.
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