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An Anti-Terrorism Court on Wednesday sentenced five men to death on two counts for their involvement in the burning alive of a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014.

ATC-I Judge Chaudhry Muhammad Azam imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on the five men identified as Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, and Hafiz Ishtiaq ─ a local prayer leader ─ for their involvement in the lynching.

Eight others have also been charged with involvement in the lynching and sentenced to two years each in prison.

The eight men were identified as Muhammad Hussain, Noorul Hasan, Muhammad Arsalan, Muhammad Haris, Muhammad Muneer, Muhammad Ramazan, Irfan and Hafiz Shahid.

A challan submitted in court claimed the five men handed the death penalty gathered a large mob of hundreds by making announcements over a mosque loudspeaker and incited them to violence with incendiary speech.

Kot Radha Kishan lynching

A mob of around 400 people lynched Shahzad and Shama for their alleged role in desecrating the Holy Quran in November 2014. Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers from Chak-59 of Kot Radha Kishan, a town in Kasur district. The woman, mother of three, was pregnant.

Police and witnesses told Dawn in Nov 2014 that announcements had been made from mosques on Tuesday asking villagers to gather at the Yousaf brick kiln where 25-year-old Shama and her husband Shahzad Masih worked as bonded labourers.

Over 1,000 charged people from three villages took out the couple from a room (where they had taken shelter) after tearing apart its roof.

The mob tortured the couple before putting them into the kiln’s furnace.

The mob held hostage five policemen who tried to rescue the couple. The villagers also manhandled some media personnel and snatched their cameras.

Police registered a case against 660 villagers, including 60 who were nominated in a First Information Report lodged on the complaint of Sub-Inspector Muhammad Ali of Chowki Factory Area.

The FIR said the mob had thrashed the couple and dragged them to a kiln where Mohammad Yousaf Gujar, the kiln owner, and his accountants Shakeel and Afzal, allegedly removed a lid from one of the openings of the furnace and threw the couple into it.

"Both Shama and Shahzad were reduced to ashes in no time," the FIR stated.

'No one listened to her'

Bilqees, a local Muslim resident, recounted the horrific incident to Dawn in 2014.

She said that Shama, known in the village as Saima, married Shahzad Masih about 10 years ago. They had three children aged between two and seven. She said Shama was pregnant at the time of the incident.

Nazir Masih, father-in-law of Shama, was a faith healer and died a few weeks ago. After his death, Shama had burnt some of his belongings, including papers. She added that Shama was illiterate.

Bilqees said a vendor who had visited the brick kiln found the pages of the Holy Quran and showed them to the villagers.

Later on Tuesday morning, hundreds of villagers gathered at the kiln and burnt the couple alive without even listening to Shama.

“She was screaming that she was unaware of what the papers were about, but no one listened to her,” Bilqees said.

International uproar

The lynching of Shama and Shehzad caused international uproar. In 2014, A top Vatican official described the lynching of the couple as a humiliation for all of humanity.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the chair of the Roman Catholic church's council for interfaith dialogue, had said he was profoundly shocked by accounts of the horrific death of Shehzad and Shama.

“How can we remain impassive before such crimes, justified in the name of religion?,” Tauran had earlier said on Vatican Radio, urging Muslim leaders in Pakistan to vigorously condemn the killings.

“It is all of humanity that is humiliated,” he had said, adding: “The first victims are in fact Muslims because these misdeeds give an image of Islam that is terrible."

Comments (86) Closed

Umreekan_Sundi Nov 23, 2016 03:52pm

Justice served and relatively quickly. Well done courts!

Nomi Goraya Nov 23, 2016 03:54pm

There must be only one LAW in country and that must be LAW of Pakistan.

Karachi Nov 23, 2016 03:55pm

Good job,

Muhammad Nov 23, 2016 03:55pm

A good step indeed

mustafa Nov 23, 2016 03:57pm

Thank God.

Harmony-1© Nov 23, 2016 03:57pm

That's a good decision. That was a horrendous act. No one should take someone's life in an act of mindless 'blasphemy' accusation. No one can become judge, jury and executioner!

Shaikh Nov 23, 2016 03:58pm

Good decision,

nooneabovethelaw Nov 23, 2016 03:57pm

Good decision, such vigilantism should be discouraged. Anybody can take advantage of these incidents and take law into their own hands.

lodhi Nov 23, 2016 03:58pm

Good going

The_Truth Nov 23, 2016 03:59pm

Great decision

imran yusufzai Nov 23, 2016 04:02pm

this incident was really tragic and innocent family was so horribly killed. hope we all can control our anger and stop from being misled by hollow slogans and mob mentality. RIP shahzad and shama :(

NABEEL BHATTY Nov 23, 2016 04:01pm

This judgement serves like a sight for the sore eyes...

Muhammad Kamran Nov 23, 2016 04:03pm

Finally justice served.

Khawaja Nov 23, 2016 04:04pm

Justice for ALL, clear message for religious extremists,

Respect Nov 23, 2016 04:04pm

Glad to see Justice served! Let no one take the Law in their own hands...peace

DJ Nov 23, 2016 04:08pm

Rules and implementation of rules should be such strict that nobody should dare to commit crimes.This is the only way to counter criminal activities. Saudi Arabia is the prime example of this where crime rate is minimum as compared to rest of World.

Mehtab Ahmed Nov 23, 2016 04:10pm

I hope that all these people get their punishment which they deserve.

My condolences to the family of the victims.

Alpha November Nov 23, 2016 04:11pm

Finally justice done! Well done courts...

Bamboo Nov 23, 2016 04:14pm

Good job Pakistan. Justice is done. There must be only one rule and it's Law of Land for everyone.

Love from India

Amer RAO Nov 23, 2016 04:14pm

Pakistan Zindabad

Philosopher (from Japan) Nov 23, 2016 04:18pm

Wonderful. Today justice have won against religious extremism. Pakistan Zindabad.

Pakistani Nov 23, 2016 04:20pm

Thanks it feels good when justice is done.

Pakistani Nov 23, 2016 04:22pm

very good decision.

The end is near Nov 23, 2016 04:22pm

Great decision. Pakistani nation is very thankful. Let the others think 100 times before committing such heinous crimes.

Ahmed Wm Nov 23, 2016 04:23pm

Great job.....Appreciation for all those who brought justice

farhan Nov 23, 2016 04:24pm

Looking forward to have such decisions coming out faster in the future.

mo Nov 23, 2016 04:28pm

How can someone burn them alive ? Where is their morality ? How can that actually happen? Those hundreds should be jailed, that entire town should be made to suffer.

Ubaid Nov 23, 2016 04:29pm

Very Nice step in Defining a new image of Pak.

Pervez Nov 23, 2016 04:32pm

They deserved this punishment.

Syeda Ali Nov 23, 2016 04:37pm

Finally heard a great news! RIP Shahzad & Shama

mandy Nov 23, 2016 04:40pm

Intolerance at its peak in Pakistan.

Concerned Pakistani Nov 23, 2016 04:41pm

This decision has come from ATC for which maximum cases are turned upside down in higher courts. Hope justice will be done to the poor victims and it will be quick.

S Chatterjee Nov 23, 2016 04:58pm

Salute such judgement .

Merchant Nov 23, 2016 05:00pm

True we are proud to be a Muslim country BUT there is no room at all for the fanatics/extremists

Govind Nov 23, 2016 05:02pm

@Bamboo Well said. Justice delivered. Such crimes should be punished , in the same way, without considering the criminal’s religion.

Love pakistan Nov 23, 2016 05:01pm

Treat our Christian , Hindus and all non Muslims as our family , regardless of their belief ....good job the court did,

Fawzia H Nov 23, 2016 05:02pm

Some sense prevails.

Muslim Medina Nov 23, 2016 05:11pm

This should serve as a notice to all those extremists.

syed(Australia) Nov 23, 2016 05:11pm

Well done, justice should prevail for all irrespective of creed colour or caste poor or wealthy.

I wish big fishes of corruption be brought to justice

aslam najef Nov 23, 2016 05:14pm

Justice is seen done. Bravo.

ZEESHAN Nov 23, 2016 05:27pm

No one should be allowed to take law in hand, no matter what.

Aun Ali Nov 23, 2016 05:29pm

Good job...

Shahzad Ikhlaq Nov 23, 2016 05:36pm

it'll send a strong message to anyone who even thinks of taking law in his/her hands.

Justice ONLY SERVED Nov 23, 2016 05:36pm

Very good initiative, How about poor citizen killed by some enraged person in Lahore and Police failed to control protesters in Lahore Youhanabad tragedy...where are the culprits?

Voice of Reason Nov 23, 2016 05:37pm

Whilst justice might be done - three children are living without parents and the rest of the mob did not receive any punishment. The real problem is that especially with the Blasphemy laws - there seems to be a large minority who think it is okay to talk the lay into their own hands and kill people.

James Bond 007 Nov 23, 2016 05:50pm

The killing of couple..the woman was one of the beastful atrocious inhuman act done .. as no one cared of saving the souls during the incident .. and everybody was just standing and watching this killing.... whatever the punishment is given to the culprits.... it doesnt makes any big difference

kaka supoi Nov 23, 2016 06:14pm

well done.

Aziz Nov 23, 2016 06:18pm

These things are restoring my trust on our courts.

ripan Nov 23, 2016 06:27pm

such a barbaric society

Muhammad Nov 23, 2016 06:34pm

good work we need this.

Zahid Malik Nov 23, 2016 06:41pm

Justice Done...Good decision, a step to the right directon for restoring the trust

Zee Nov 23, 2016 06:51pm

I am shocked and saddened to hear the details of this tragedy where innocent couple had to go through. This is not the Islam Prophet Mohammad PBUH taught us to follow. Nabi PBUH was "Rehmat ul Alamein" compassion to all in the world then how come the followers of the Nabi goes thru the inhuman acts of punishing the helpless couple without giving them a chance. Shame on all of them, The minorities are protected in Islam and in the constitution of Pakistan and you may have any differences with them but you can't touch them.

ali Nov 23, 2016 07:12pm

great news !

Dr. Farooq Siddiqui Nov 23, 2016 07:18pm

I did not find a word about this decision in the world media !!! It is a judicious decision and a courageous one by Pakistan courts. Somehow, the world media only wants to see negative news but ignore the positive ones.

Fareed N Nov 23, 2016 07:31pm

Let us hope this sentence is not over turned by higher court.

Skeptic Nov 23, 2016 07:32pm

Ahan, behtareen! Justice delivered, thank God. But capital punishment? That is bad. Against the Human rights!

Zak Nov 23, 2016 07:37pm

Proud of the judiciary

Zak Nov 23, 2016 07:37pm

Will the international media cover thi-No. Because it does not suit their agenda.

Raza Nov 23, 2016 07:49pm

Extremism in all its form must be wiped out from pakistan to bring back the good image of pakistan whether it is religious or economic extremism.

Waseem Nov 23, 2016 07:49pm

Feeling bit relaxed, though always sad on loss of lives.

Naeem Zubair Nov 23, 2016 08:20pm

It should be published and aired widely for International image of our judiciary and stand of our nation about equal fair justice for minorities in our society.

S K LIMAYE Nov 23, 2016 08:24pm

It would serve as a lesson to those who take law in their hands.

Unk Nov 23, 2016 08:27pm

imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on the five men identified. Why they haven't been sentenced for life?

Naim Khan Nov 23, 2016 08:33pm

Thank god justice has been done,

Farhan Nov 23, 2016 08:51pm


AXH Nov 23, 2016 09:22pm

Justice served. There needs to be absolutely ZERO tolerance for hate crimes at every level.

ammar Nov 23, 2016 09:34pm

Justice done. My heart still bleeds for the kids !!

Gerry D'Cunha Nov 23, 2016 09:48pm

No doubt good judgement but will this be implemented in good spirit asap? Past experiences is good examples in Pakistan

Shaz Nov 23, 2016 10:00pm

Well done justice pervail

saeeds Nov 23, 2016 10:39pm

It was one of the heinous crime. But by hanging those people we will not achieve anything. People still believe in blasemphy and it punishment is only brutal killing of accuse person. First change mind set , tolerance and compassion is the key words. I hope victim family pardon these lost souls.

Sarah Nov 23, 2016 11:27pm

What about the poor children ! How does this justice serve them !

The parents would have educated them but they will find themselves in the same situation as the parents doing menial jobs to sustain themselves ! God please shower your grace on those three innocent children whose life turned upside down in an instant due to a violent and mindless tribe !

Aftab Nov 24, 2016 12:23am

@Zee Our constitution have made minorities as a second class citizen and irrelevant in the republic.

jamal hasan Nov 24, 2016 01:00am

Finally Justice has been served. Make laws so such incidents never happen again

Manu Nov 24, 2016 01:22am

Very good. Humanity is much bigger than color, caste or religion. I always see man not god.

Laeeq, NY Nov 24, 2016 01:28am

Lets hope these murderers find their logical end on gallows!

nazish khan Nov 24, 2016 01:31am

This is what we call rule of law

Ahsan Nov 24, 2016 02:18am

Well done courts. The people who helped in the murder in any way should be fined heavily and be sentenced to prison for a long time. People have to be humans first and then belong to a religion. So sad state of affairs.

Khan-haqiqi Nov 24, 2016 02:21am

Justice served May their soul rest in peace.

sajjad akbar Nov 24, 2016 02:30am

Good job done. This kind of cruel act must not be accepted and offenders must be punished.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Nov 24, 2016 03:03am

Love to hear these good news. We cry in sadness with the families of the Pakistani couple who passed away because of this heinous act. Let this be a lesson to all the fanatic fundamentalist in Pakistan, don't ever hurt any Pakistani, especially the minorities. Pakistani minorities are very, very sacred to our hearts.

NowNow Nov 24, 2016 04:04am

Good job. I hope other similar cases are also dealt with quickly and judiciously.

boring Nov 24, 2016 07:05am

@S K LIMAYE it actually doesn't...

M Mirza Nov 24, 2016 07:34am

Justice served. Bravo courts.

Changez Khan Nov 24, 2016 07:59am

Finally justice is served.

DAWN READER Nov 24, 2016 08:30am

@Umreekan_Sundi Such criminals must be punished irrespective of their race and religion as soon as possible.

Mona Nov 24, 2016 01:18pm

Great news. Let's hope this too gets highlighted in International media and Pakistan gets an international applause for this ruling.