LAHORE/SARGODHA: In the wake of Sargodha shrine tragedy, the Punjab government is considering takeover of all the shrines in the province.

The tragedy had claimed 20 lives allegedly due to a rivalry on custodianship of the shrine.

A meeting of the cabinet committee on the law and order held here on Wednesday with Law Minister Rana Sanaullah in the chair decided to recommend to the chief minister that all shrines in the province should be brought under the fold of the Auqaf department.

The step, it said, was necessary keeping in view the Sargodha incident. The committee will recommend necessary amendments to relevant laws for the purpose.

The body also reviewed the Bedian Road suicide attack and decided to wait for the forensic report from the Forensic Agency.

It will meet again on Thursday (today) to further discuss the attack on the census team.

Meanwhile, Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Zaeem Qadri said on Wednesday the provincial government had constituted a team to monitor shrines and draft laws to check the Sargodha shrine-like incidents.

The minister was speaking to people at the Circuit House in Sargodha after giving away compensation cheques to the families of the deceased.

He said that 552 shrines were registered with the Punjab Auqaf Department, and now the shrine failing to meet the requirements of the auqaf registration would not be allowed to be visited by the public. He said the Chak 95-NB shrine was set up without informing the government.

He said though police had become a complainant in the case, the families of the deceased would be encouraged to appear as witness in the case.

He said the shrine had been sealed on the demand of the area residents. Each family of deceased got a checque for Rs500,000 while injured were given R200,000 each.

FIR: The relatives of some the deceased had accused police of not making them complaints into the incident.

Police authorities, however, said the relatives wanted to be complainants now only to save the accused from punishment.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2017


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