SC bench to take up Jaranwala rampage case tomorrow

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By Webdesk

Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Reuters/File
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Reuters/File
  • Justices Muneeb Akhtar, Jamal Mandokhail among bench members.
  • Over 5,000 people poured into Christian area and rampaged. 
  • Two men suspected of inciting violence under arrest. 

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) will take up the case of arson and rampage in the Christian neighbourhood in Jaranwala town of the industrial district of Faisalabad, the latest incident of violence against the religious minority.

On August 16, a crowd vandalised several churches and set scores of houses on fire in Jaranwala after clerics made announcements in the mosques inciting the mob to attack the Christian community under allegations of blasphemy.

The violent mob that committed arson, also looted valuables from the Christian houses that had been abandoned by their owners after the calls of protests from the mosques.

Justice Ijaz-Ul-Ahsan will preside over the bench, comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.

Minority leader Samuel Pyaray had moved the SC under a miscellaneous petition, to take notice of the Jaranwala tragedy.

This is the second time that the petition has been scheduled for a hearing. 

Last month, CJP Bandial had constituted a three-member bench — comprising himself, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Shahid Waheed — to hear pleas filed on the Jaranwala incident.

The bench was expected to take up the case on August 22 and notices were issued to all the parties in the case.

However, later it was learnt the Supreme Court deferred the hearing on the issue as the Human Rights Cell had not received the police report on the incident.

“I was told by the Supreme Court that the case is scheduled for hearing tomorrow [Tuesday] but if was informed later that the Human Rights Cell report on the incident has not yet been received which is why the hearing will not be held,” petitioner Pyare had told Geo News back then.

At its peak, more than 5,000 people had poured into the neighbourhood from other districts, with smaller mobs spreading to narrow alleys where they ransacked homes.

Following the incident, Christian families spent the night in the fields and desolated places to save their lives after their houses were burned and attacked while some of the families moved to other areas to their relatives.

Two cases had been registered under charges of terrorism and blasphemy including 13 other provisions, against the arsonists in Jaranwala, in which 37 suspects were nominated and more than 600 unidentified people were included in the investigation.

Two men suspected of inciting violence against the minority places of worship by making announcements at a mosque in Faisalabad’s Jaranwala, had been arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) a day after the incident.

In a bid to probe the tragic incident in Faisalabad’s Jaranwala, foster interfaith and interdenominational unity, and quell extremist narratives, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and Church of Pakistan jointly established a 24-member committee on August 20.

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