Joseph Colony: Blasphemy complainant, arson accused still missing

Local market elections postponed as 18 candidates of one group among accused.

Rana Tanveer March 17, 2013
“There is no point in holding elections when more than half the candidates of one of the traders’ groups are on the run after being nominated in the FIR,” says Hussain PHOTO: REUTERS


Police have so far been unable to find Shahid Imran, the complainant in the blasphemy case against a Christian resident of Joseph Colony and an accused in the subsequent arson in the neighbourhood, though they arrested a friend of his on Sunday.

Shafiq alias Chiku is alleged to have set fire to a snooker table owned by the blasphemy accused, Sawan Masih, and incited others to sack and burn the homes and properties of Christian residents.

Shafiq, son of Jhuggian Sheikhabad resident Muhammad Rafique, told the police that he had not personally heard Sawan making blasphemous remarks, but had been angered by Imran’s account of Sawan’s alleged utterances, sources in Badami Bagh police station told The Express Tribune.

SP (Investigation) Amin Bokhari said that police had no clue as to the whereabouts of Imran, but were looking for all the accused nominated in the FIR.

Market elections postponed

Meanwhile, the election of the body that manages the Misri Shah iron market, located near Joseph Colony, have been postponed from the due date of March 20. Some of those rendered homeless in Joseph Colony have suggested that the expansion of the market was the motive for the March 10 attack.

“There is no point in holding elections when more than half the candidates of one of the traders’ groups are on the run after being nominated in the FIR,” said Chaudhry Shahid Hussain, the election commissioner.

He said that 18 of the 32 candidates of the Aman Group had been nominated in the FIR of the Joseph Colony attack, while not a single candidate of the rival Ittefaq Group had been nominated. He suggested that this was the result of a “political vendetta”.

“It is clear that the FIR was registered to victimise one group to get a political advantage,” Hussain said, adding that the new election date would be decided in consultation with both groups.

A member of the Aman Group, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that 20 traders had been nominated among the 83 accused in the FIR, including 18 affiliated with his group. They included presidential candidate Tariq Gujjar, his son Shabbir Gujjar, and vice presidential candidates Usman Butt, Chaudhry Shabbir Asim Shafi and Mian Saleem. “Our opponents have the backing of political bigwigs. They have implicated our candidates to get them out of the elections,” he said.

Mian Kabeer Ahmed, a candidate of the Ittehad Group of Traders, said that some of his colleagues had been nominated. Asked to name them, he responded after a while that they were Chaudhry Bashir and Inam Butt. But the FIR, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, does not include any man called Bashir or Inam.

The Badami Bagh investigation officer said that the accused included candidates of both groups, but he could not name any. He said that the accused had been identified through video footage. The complainant in the case was the recently-suspended Badami Bagh SHO.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2013.


yajsingh | 10 years ago | Reply

I dont hear pakistani assembly condeming Joseph colony massacre of Christians. Well seems like pakistani christians are dispensible compared to Indian kashmiri. Logical?

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