Apex court bench to take up Jaranwala violence case tomorrow

An undated photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File
An undated photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File

The Supreme Court (SC) will take up a case related to the mob attack on Christian houses and places of worship in Jaranwala, a town of the industrial district of Faisalabad that made headlines across the globe last month.

A three-member bench of the apex court will hear a miscellaneous petition filed by minority leader Samuel Pyaray, seeking notice of the Jaranwala tragedy.

On August 16, charged crowd arsoned and rampaged several churches and houses in Jaranwala after furious calls for protests by the clerics of mosques, inciting the mob to attack the Christian community for alleged blasphemy.

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

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

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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