LAHORE: The prosecutor, who was blamed for asking the undertrial Christian accused of the Youhanabad lynching case to embrace Islam for getting released on bail, has been found guilty of the charge in an inquiry started against him under PEEDA (Punjab Employees Efficiency and Discipline Act).

Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah had allegedly asked the 42 undertrial Christians to embrace Islam after the hearing of the case of lynching of two Muslim men on March 28 this year.

The lynching took place in the aftermath of two suicide bomb attacks outside two churches in Lahore’s Christian colony Youhanabad.

The incident had taken place in March 2015 and the case is being tried by a Lahore anti-terrorism court.

“It is my recommendation, the final decision would be made by the competent authority,” said Prosecution Department’s Director General Monitoring and Evaluation Ashraf Bhatti who was the inquiry officer, confirming on telephone that the prosecutor had been found guilty.

Mr Shah was removed from his post immediately after the allegation was levelled against him. An inquiry was ordered under PEEDA. Punishment under this law is given by the competent authority after hearing an accused.

Officials said under the law, the hearing by the competent authority is held to impose punishment on the basis of the findings of an inquiry.

They rejected the idea that conversion to Islam could benefit any accused in any case being tried by any anti-terrorism or normal court. “No law enforced in Pakistan provides for it,” a senior prosecutor said.

Two suicide attacks outside two churches in Youhanabad on March 15, 2015, had sparked off violent protests in the Christian locality. As a result two Muslim men, happened to be in the locality, were burnt to death by the angry mob.

The victims were identified as Babar Noman, a tailor, and Hafiz Naeem, a glass cutter, of the same locality. Later, the Nishtar Town police registered two FIRs against the accused.

All the 42 accused of the lynching, all in jail, were indicted by the ATC on Jan 10 this year.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2017

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