Apex Court Discards Punjab Govt’s Progress Report On Jaranwala Attacks

Minority rights activists laud the Supreme Court; term development as a step towards justice for the victims of the appalling incident.

Apex Court Discards Punjab Govt’s Progress Report On Jaranwala Attacks

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a progress report submitted by the Punjab government on the Jaranwala incident, ordering the provincial government to resubmit the report within 10 days. 

The Supreme Court additionally sought information on all worship places belonging to minority communities in the country within two months. Notices have been sent to the federal and provincial governments, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.

The Supreme Court's statements came as a three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa heard a case involving minority rights and the Jaranwala incident. The provincial government submitted its progress report on the incident.

The chief justice expressed his shame after viewing the report of the incident in which several churches and dozens of homes in Jaranwala's Christian community were set on fire.

CJP Isa questioned representatives from the Punjab government about the arrests made in connection with the incident. The Punjab law officer informed the court that 22 cases had been filed and 304 people had been arrested. Charge sheets had been gathered in 18 of the 22 FIRs.

"MashaAllah, only these 18 challans were issued in 6 months?" the chief justice responded sarcastically.

He also noted how Pakistanis prefer to complain about Islamophobia in other countries, but what are they doing themselves?

"Do you want to copy the way non-Muslims in India are treated?" the CJP questioned.

During the hearing, Faisalabad Police's Investigation Superintendent appeared in court. The officer has been investigating the Jaranwala incident. He informed the court that the Muslim community in the area had assembled and resolved to take action against the alleged blasphemous act. 

Providing specifics of his investigation, he informed the court that the alleged Holy Quran desecration occurred around 5:15 a.m., when the "Quranic scrolls were installed in a desecrating manner." 

At this point, the chief justice questioned the investigation SP about the police officers who had been removed from duty as a result of the incident. 

The officer stated that an investigation into the police officers was still ongoing and that a joint investigative team had been formed to look into the matter.

During the hearing, the chief justice also expressed displeasure when the Investigation SP hesitated to openly name the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP).

Meanwhile, minority rights activists lauded the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa for rejecting the progress report submitted by the Punjab government regarding the Jaranwala incident.

The development has been hailed as a step towards justice for the victims of the appalling incident.

While commenting on the development, minority rights activist Pastor Ghazala expressed gratitude to the apex court for hearing their reservations on the Jaranwala incident, emphasizing the significance of the ruling against the Punjab police report. She vowed not to forget the incident and asserted that ongoing petitions give hope for justice to the victims.