Wednesday, November 23, 2016
In a judgement here today, Anti-Terrorism Court of District Kasur of Punjab province of Pakistan sentenced to death five Muslim who were involved in burning alive a Christian couple in furnace of brick kiln factory in Kot Radha Kishan on allegation on blasphemy.
In November 2014, Muslim mob of hundreds gathered around a servant quarter in a Brick Kiln Factory where owner of factory have locked his two employees, wife and husband, named Shama and Shahzad Masih on allegations of defiling pages of Holy Quran.
The Muslim mob dragged out Christian couple from servant quarter and tortures them before throwing them in furnace of brick kiln factory to kill them.
A large number of angry Muslims gathered around Brick Kiln factory when Muslim cleric announced on loud speaker of nearby village mosque to punish blasphemers.
There was contingent of police present when Muslim mob was torturing Christian couple but they never fired singly shot in air even to rescue couple but kept eyes closed.
About one hundred Muslims were booked in case of lynching of Christian couple but only 13 were given sentences by ATC today while other were aquitted.
The five Muslims sentenced to death are Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, and Hafiz Ishtiaq (Muslim cleric who announced in mosque). These culprits were also fined Rs200,000 each along with death penality. The eight others who have been charged and sentenced to two years imprisonment are Muhammad Hussain, Noorul Hasan, Muhammad Arsalan, Muhammad Haris, Muhammad Muneer, Muhammad Ramazan, Irfan and Hafiz Shahid.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC said that it is too early to comment on this judgement until detailed verdict is not issued because culprits of 8 Christian burnt alive in Gojra Muslim mob massacre are walking free on streets while culprits in lynching Christian couple have right to appeal in higher court and if judgment by ATC is not written up-to-date then there are doubts that higher courts will set these killers free also.
Nazir Bhatti said that it is very surprising that main culprit and owner of Brick Kiln factory Mohammad Yousaf Gujjar and his two companions who locked Shama and Shahzad and later opened furnace to burn them alive is left out of judgment and charge sheet which will support these 13 culprits to walk free.
PCC Chief said that justice is never ensured in Muslim mob attacks of Christian life and property in Pakistan because police officers who are Muslims submit flawed charge sheets in courts.
Meanwhile, Riaz Anjum said “The five people awarded the death sentence were involved in dragging, beating and burning the couple while the other eight played a supportive role according to the judgement,” Senior prosecutor Khurram Khan confirmed the ruling.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said: "These convictions are a watershed moment for the Pakistani Christians. It is rare for perpetrators of violence against Christians to receive a conviction, for the sentencing to be so strong in this court case sends out a strong message that violence will be met with the weight of the law. The perceived impunity for mob attacks on Christians has been countered and now hopefully will reduce such crime."
He added: "The family of Shama and Shahzad now need a time for solace and healing. The ongoing case and the constant death threats on the family have had their toll and the children often question why they and their parents were hated so much. The government of Pakistan must ensure that they work with us and other groups to ensure the protection of the family are of paramount importance. Quite frankly the families have suffered enough.
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