Badami Bagh arson: Lawyer says victims live in fear

CJ says Punjab IG should be held responsible.

Mudassir Raja March 19, 2013
CJ says Punjab IG should be held responsible. PHOTO: FILE


The terror has not ended for the Christian residents of Joseph Colony in Lahore. In a hearing on the Badami Bagh arson case on Monday, a lawyer told the court that they are still feeling insecure and are being harassed even though a week has passed since 200 of their houses were set ablaze over an allegation that blasphemy had been committed.

“The community is being harassed and they live in a constant state of fear as the local police and district administration failed to protect their property,” said advocate Naeem Shakir, appearing on behalf of Joseph Francis and the victims.

“Why do Christians feel insecure? The courts have regularly been coming to their safety. You should not blame everyone,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, referring to cases in Gojra and Islamabad.

“This trend of using blasphemy laws to justify nefarious acts should be discouraged,” Shakir said. “On March 8 and 9, the police asked the residents to vacate their houses and when the mob came there was nobody left to protect their property.”

“Who told the victims to leave,” asked Punjab Advocate General Ashtar Ausaf, requesting the court to direct Shakir to disclose these names. The lawyer responded that he would reveal them at the next hearing.

Turning to the job of senior police officers in Lahore, the AG informed the bench that the Capital Police Officer or police chief had been transferred for failing to assess the situation properly or do something to protect the houses.

“Why are you not saying the IG is responsible as the head of the Punjab police? The incident took place right under his nose in Lahore,” observed Chief Justice Chaudhry.

Later, the AG informed the bench that every family had been paid Rs50,000 and as many as 25 houses had been rebuilt, while the rest of the residences will be refurbished by March 25.

After the newly appointed police chief, Muhammad Amlesh, asked for more time to do a thorough and honest investigation the bench adjourned the hearing until March 25.

SSP Investigation Babar Bakhat Qureishi said that the man who registered the blasphemy case, Shahid Imran, had been granted bail after he was questioned and it was established that an act of blasphemy had taken place.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.


Sajid Khan | 9 years ago | Reply

The salary of IG, Punjab and the concerned officers be stopped forthwith and the loss due to burning of houses in Badami bagh area to be recovered from them.

Dr.A.K.Tewari | 9 years ago | Reply


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