Lahore: The leadership of National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has condemned in strong terms, the registration of a false blasphemy against Sawan Masih and the incidents of burning, arson nearly 178 houses of Christians in Joseph Colony Lahore.
Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani the National Director, Peter Jacob the Executive Director, NCJP said in a press statement that the police and administration was mainly responsible who allowed the situation to develop for 24 hours into a tragedy in the heart of Provincial Capital. However the political leadership in the country also did not find courage to address the sufferings of religious minorities especially those related to abuse of blasphemy laws.
The provincial government is responsible for current monument of shame because it ignored the plight of minorities in the wake of growing religious intolerance fueled by extremist groups whereas the government paid no heed to recommendations made by the judicial inquiry conducted by Justice Iqbal Hameeduddin after the burning six Christians alive and 140 houses belonging to Christians in Gojra / Korian in 2009. Had the provincial and federal governments taken steps to introduce legal safeguards and administrative reforms, the tragic incidents making 200 households homeless in Badami Bagh could have been avoided. Had the officers in police and administration found responsible in Gojra, been punished, the pattern of false allegations and FIR against the minority citizens would have been discouraged.
NCJP the representative body constituted by Catholic Church in Pakistan has demanded that the FIR against innocent Sawan Masih should be withdrawn and he should be set at liberty. Considering the abuse / use of blasphemy law is basically a Punjab phenomenon, about 80 % cases have been reported in Punjab, the government of Punjab instead of finding excuses, should accept the challenge of make recommendations for legal and administrative reform to check abuse of blasphemy laws. NCJP called for an impartial and credible inquiry of the whole incident and bringing the culprits to justice and a proper compensation be paid to the victims of about 200 families.