LAHORE/SARGODHA: Sargodha police claimed on Monday to have arrested more than 100 suspects for mob violence and attempt to lynch a Christian man three days ago.

Earlier, a case was registered against 44 nominated and 300/400 unidentified suspects on behalf of the state under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 and sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Sargodha District Police Officer (DPO) Dr Assad Malhi told Dawn that more than 100 suspects had been arrested in the case. He said investigations were underway with the focus on determining the extent of the damage and identifying those responsible for the issue.

“The police are working tirelessly to ensure that all aspects in the case are thoroughly examined and that justice is served.”

Minister lauds police for saving families in Mujahid Colony incident

Mr Malhi said that in addition to the investigations, community engagement was also underway in the area to address the root causes of the incident and prevent similar occurrences in the future.

For the purpose, he added, the police were working closely with the local community leaders and religious scholars to promote interfaith harmony and understanding. He said police had employed the best possible strategy to ensure safety of the 10 people who were being surrounded by the unruly charged mob and safely transported them to a secure location.

“No death or loss of life happened and the police also ensured the safety of the family of the targeted man and prevented the situation from escalating further,” the DPO said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs Ramesh Singh Arora on Monday visited the site of the mob violence in Mujahid Colony to gain insight into the situation.

Speaking to the media, he described the incident as heart-wrenching and an attack on the Constitution of the country. He shared that Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz had issued directions for all possible measures for saving human lives.

Responding to a question, he revealed that the cases had been registered under terrorism charges against 250 to 300 unidentified individuals involved in the incident.

“Based on solid evidence, police have arrested 44 suspects, out of which 33 have been remanded in judicial custody,” he added.

The minister termed Pakistan a beautiful mosaic of people from various religions, saying that those who attempted to disrupt the harmony would be brought to justice. He noted that the current government had celebrated Easter, Baisakhi and Holi along with the minority communities.

He said some elements did not want peace in the region but timely action by the police and administrative officials prevented significant damage to Sargodha as well as the country.

Mr Arora commended the police officers for their bravery in rescuing the affected families in Mujahid Colony incident while putting their own lives in danger. He made it clear that no fatalities occurred in the incident with only one injured person currently receiving treatment.

Commissioner Muhammad Ajmal Bhatti, Regional Police Officer Shariq Kamal Siddiqui, Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Aurangzeb Haider Khan, MPAs Ijaz Alam Augustine, Sonia Ashar and Shakeela Ather along with Christian leaders and religious figures, accompanied the minister during the visit.

Earlier, the minister participated in a meeting on the Mujahid Colony incident at the commissioner’s office.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2024

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