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Christian Organization Seeks Judicial Inquiry into Jaranwala Unrest

Citing lack of trust in police probe, petition urges LHC to order judicial inquiry to ensure a fair investigation and trial of perpetrators

by Staff Report

Screengrab of the mob looting and setting fire to a Christian home in Jaranwala

The Grace Bible Fellowship Church Pakistan, a missionary trust, has filed a petition before the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking a judicial inquiry into the mob violence at Jaranwala that saw churches and homes of the Christian community being ransacked and set on fire over blasphemy allegations against two individuals.

The petition notes that alleged desecration of the Quran in Jaranwala earlier this month had led to inciting announcements from local mosques, triggering a violent riot that saw a mob of Muslims target the Christian community, setting alight at least 25 churches and over 50 homes. It states that local members of the Christian community continue to live in a state of fear, apprehensive about the safety of their lives and property.

According to the petition, a judicial inquiry is necessary because the local administration and law enforcement had failed to control the violent mob and ensure law and order. It notes that the joint investigation teams (JITs) formed the government appear to be eyewash, as despite the involvement of more than 500 suspects in the riots, police had thus far only detained 25-30. This, it alleged, was the result of police acting under pressure from influential extremists. Only through a judicial inquiry, it asserted, could a fair investigation and trial of all perpetrators be ensured.

The petition also urged the LHC to bar police from any illegal abductions, harassment or pressuring of the Christian community at the behest of religious elements for any undue, unfair compromise and settlement.

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