Joseph Colony attacks: ATC acquits 115 suspected arsonists

Dunya News

No casualties were reported in the attack in March 2013

LAHORE (Web Desk) – Anti-terrorism Court (ATC) has acquitted 115 suspects nominated in case over setting ablaze at least 100 houses in Joseph Colony in Badami Bagh Area for lack of evidence.

The attack, on primarily a Christian’s colony, dates back to 2013 after an alleged blasphemy incident.

Hundreds of locals were deprived of residences after a charged mob stormed the colony and set installations on fire over alleged blasphemy committed by a local named Sawan Masih who later was tried and sentenced to death in 2014.

On Saturday, the court was told during a hearing by Advocate Murtaza Chaudhry that prosecution had failed to prove the charges and requested the ATC to acquit them.

Deputy prosecutor general argued that the evidence provided to the court was enough to prove the crime and that the incident brought bad name to Pakistan.

However, the suspects were acquitted by the presiding judge.

No casualties were reported in the attack in March 2013 as the neighbourhood was vacated by families a day earlier over warning by Punjab Police.

26-year-old Masih had allegedly quarreled with the complainant under the influence of liquor on March 7 and a case was registered on March 8 under Section 295-C of the Blasphemy Act.

Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif had suspended two police officials and demoted two others. City Superintendent of Police (SP) of Operations Wing, who was demoted to OSD rank, had stated that the rampage began at around 11:30 am and at least 7,000 people were involved.