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CM orders arrest of arsonists

LAHORE, March 9: Taking a serious notice of the Badami Bagh Christian locality attack, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday ordered immediate arrest of the arsonists, removed senior police officials concerned, ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and announced a relief package for the affected families.

“No one, who even has a slightest role in the rampage that left hundreds of Christian homes inhabitable and burnt valuables worth millions of rupees, will be spared,” the chief minister said at a news conference here.

He said SSP (Operations) Suhail Akhtar Sukhera and City SP (Operations) Multan Khan were made OSDs and the DSP and SHO concerned were suspended from service. He said it had been decided to order a judicial inquiry into the incident, and to immediately write a letter to the LHC chief justice for the purpose.

The chief minister announced immediate payment of Rs200,000 to each of the affected Christian family. Reconstruction of their damaged houses would also be started soon. He said a camp was immediately been set up in the locality to bring back the Christian families and to keep them there in safe custody till the construction of their houses. They would also be provided with food.

He said those involved in the incident would be identified with the help of video footages. “I am ordering to immediately arrest them. Those who instigated people will also be immediately arrested.”

The chief minister said he had ordered to register cases against the culprits under the Anti-Terrorism Act and to send the case to the anti-terrorism court in the shortest possible time.

He said a committee under the law minister had been constituted for daily supervising the relief measures and action against the culprits.

He appealed to the people to discourage violence against minorities. He also requested religious scholars to come forward and play their role in protecting the rights of minorities.

Replying to questions, he said police officials of all ranks found guilty of dereliction of duty would be proceeded against. All those involved in the attack would not be spared. He himself would daily monitor progress till his last day in office.