Court asks prosecutor to present witnesses at next hearing.
LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday framed charges against 20 accused belonging to the Christian community for allegedly lynching two Muslim men following deadly suicide bombings in the Youhannabad neighbourhood of the provincial capital earlier this year.
Babar Nauman and Hafiz Naeem were beaten and burnt to death on March 14 after a Christian mob snatched them from the police following the deadly blasts at two churches. The accused were presented before the court where they pleaded innocence. Subsequently, the court indicted them and directed the prosecutor to present witnesses at the next hearing.
On March 14, two suicide bombers exploded themselves outside two churches in Youhannabad resulting in the death of 14 people and two policemen. More than 80 people were also injured. The Christian community staged protests which turned violent as they caught two Muslim men from the site over suspicion that they were involved in the blasts and burnt them alive.
Later the victims were identified as Babar Nauman, a garment worker, and Hafiz Naeem, a glass cutter. The Jamaatul Ahrar faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the church blasts.
Four FIRs were registered at the Nishtar Town police station after the incident. One FIR was against the TTP; two in the lynching, while the fourth FIR was registered over the charges of damaging government property by the mob in which Tamsoon Masih, Sadaqat Masih, Faisal Masih, Irfan Masih and Saghir Masih were rounded up.
The police also arrested Aslam Masih, Ilyas Masih, Chand Masih, Waris Masih, Anmol Masih, Fayyaz Masih, Sumbal Barkat Masih, Sumbal Dicson, Salamat Masih, Kashif Masih, Zakria Masih, Shehzad Masih, Rafaqat Masih, Rohail Masih, Riaz Masih, Nazeer Masih, Tariq Masih, Irshad Masih, Asif Masih and Ashfaque Masih.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.