GUJRAT: Personnel of army, Rangers and police jointly held a flag march in Jhelum on Sunday as normalcy returned to the town after two days of tension which followed the setting on fire of a chipboard factory and a place of worship of the Ahmadi community by a mob over alleged desecration of Holy Quran at the factory.
The local authorities sealed the place of worship which had been torched and occupied by the mob on Saturday and soldiers were deployed for its protection.
Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed and Brigadier Ilyas of the army visited all places of Ahmadi worship in the district and inspected the torched factory.
Jhelum Sadar police registered a case against 80 to 85 alleged attackers under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and raided different places to arrest them.
The army and Rangers personnel were requisitioned by the administration after the failure of police to defuse the situation.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, head of the Punjab cabinet committee on law and order, visited Jhelum on Sunday. He was accompanied by Inspector General of police Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, Home Secretary Azam Suleman and senior officials of the Counter-Terrorism Department and intelligence agencies.
Talking to journalists, Rana Sanaullah said the incident of torching of the factory was being thoroughly investigated and nobody would be allowed to take law into his own hand. Punishing or rewarding someone is the sole prerogative of the court. He said that making announcements from mosques to instigate people was against the sanctity of mosques and such an act was highly condemnable and could never be allowed.
He said the perpetrators of the Kot Radha Kishan incident had already been brought to book and only courts could decide such issues.
The law minister said timely response by the administration and police had saved many precious lives in Jhelum.
The cabinet committee commended the efforts of Jhelum’s Assistant Commissioner Dr Aafaq Wazir who himself was injured while rescuing families living in the residential area of the chipboard factory. He was the first official to reach the area when the worship place was being torched and tried to persuade the mob to disperse. The army troops arrived soon after and brought the situation under control.
SECTION 144: Jhelum DCO Zulfiqar Ghuman has imposed Section 144 prohibiting gathering of five or more people in the district.
The local authorities held a meeting with clerics of different sects and traders who assured the administration of their complete cooperation in defusing the situation. The meeting was presided over by the Rawalpindi commissioner.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2015