20 suspected in 2014 Kot Radha Kishan lynching of Christian couple acquitted by ATC

Published March 24, 2018
This undated family handout photo shows the Christian couple who were killed by a lynch mob in Kot Radha Kishan ─ AFP/File
This undated family handout photo shows the Christian couple who were killed by a lynch mob in Kot Radha Kishan ─ AFP/File

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Saturday acquitted 20 people suspected of involvement in the lynching and burning alive of a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014.

Shahzad and Shama were burned alive in a brick kiln by a frenzied lynch mob ─ incited by announcements made from mosques in the area ─ ranging between 400-1,000 people for their alleged role in the desecration of the Holy Quran in Nov 2014. Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers, and the woman, a mother of three, was pregnant at the time. Police had registered a case against 660 villagers after the incident.

Read more: Tracing footsteps in Kot Radha Kishan

The court today acquitted 20 suspects, giving them the benefit of doubt. Among the 20, 15 people were identified as Faryad, Babar Ali, Islamuddin, Zulfiqar Ali, Arshad Ali, Jawed, Abid, Sabir, Muhammad Sharif, Sarfraz, Sultan, Aftab, Muhammad Ashraf, Abid Hasan, Asif and Owais.

The ATC in Nov 2016 sentenced five men to death on two counts for their involvement in the burning alive of Shahzad and Shama. Eight others were also charged with involvement in the lynching and sentenced to two years each in prison. In 2015, the ATC had indicted 106 suspected in the lynching.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence. Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Opinion

Trouble in Camelot
Updated 06 May 2021

Trouble in Camelot

The electorate knows better than to swallow the government’s rhetoric.
Time to wake up
Updated 05 May 2021

Time to wake up

The criticism reflects our failure to counter rising religious intolerance and bigotry, and also exposes a diplomatic debacle.

Editorial

Proceed with caution
Updated 06 May 2021

Proceed with caution

The slightest loosening of SOP protocols could send us hurling in the direction where India finds itself today.
06 May 2021

IPP dues

THE ECC decision to pay the first tranche of outstanding dues of one set of IPPs, and further delay the payments of...
06 May 2021

Violence against doctors

HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare...
05 May 2021

Path of growth

FINANCE MINISTER Shaukat Tarin finally specified the future direction that the country’s economic policy will take...
05 May 2021

Human rights 2020

THE human rights situation in Pakistan, almost predictably bleak every year, was deeply impacted in 2020 by an...
Unreasonable behaviour
Updated 05 May 2021

Unreasonable behaviour

Usman Buzdar should reprimand Dr Awan for her coarse behaviour and make sure she tenders a public apology.