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Badami Bagh arson: SC dissatisfied with police report

March 11, 2013

Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: During Monday's hearing of the suo motu notice on Saturday’s arson attack on a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, the Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction over a report submitted by the Punjab Police, DawnNews reported.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry the police seemed more engaged in providing protection to criminals.

Chief Justice Iftikhar also expressed his displeasure over the delayed registration of the First Information Report (FIR) in the wake of the arson.

He further asked as to why the neighbourhood had been evacuated, adding that no reason had been given for the measure. The bench also questioned whether the attack was in fact a property-related matter.

Reprimanding IG Punjab, the chief justice remarked as to why the police chief of the province was not trying to get to the facts of the matter and whether he was capable of performing his duties.

The bench moreover inquired why security measures had not been employed when there were reports of trouble in the area.

The report fails to address the cause of the arson, the chief justice said, adding that neither does it mention what action was taken against those responsible for the attack on the Christian neighbourhood.

Badami Bagh arson

On March 9, a mob enraged over alleged blasphemy set on fire a number of houses belonging to Christians in Badami Bagh on Saturday.

There was no casualty as members of the Christian community, including women and children, had left the neighbourhood on Friday night after police advised them to do so.

A church and several shops were also torched by the mob. Police put the number of burnt houses at 125. Around 25 were arrested.

The blasphemy suspect was identified as 26-year-old Sawan Masih. Police took him into custody in the small hours of Saturday. Later a magistrate sent him on judicial remand.