44 identified as police book 500 for Sargodha mob attack on Christian man

  • Case filed under severe charges including ones from the PPC and ATA 1997

SARGODHA: Sunday saw the authorities lodging a case against 500 yet-to-be-identified people, among which were 40 women, with 44 participants already pinpointed for participating in a mob assault against a Christian resident accused of blasphemy the preceding day in Mujahid Colony.

The official record of the event—filed a few hours after the confrontation—lists nearly 500 armed individuals of unclear identities and references various serious criminal charges, including 324 (attempted murder), 186 (hindrance of public servants), 353 (assault on officials on duty), 436 (arson to destroy a dwelling), 440 (arson causing danger to life), and 149 (membership in an illegal assembly) from the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Furthermore, charges have been brought against the individuals under Section 7 (penalties for terrorism) and 11WW (mob lynching) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 1997.

The written report by Station House Officer (SHO) Shahid Iqbal detailed how a mob, armed with crude weapons, converged on the alleged victim’s residence seeking forced entry.

Policemen were tasked with the rescue of the accused individual and two other Christian households targeted by the mob intent on lynching him and breaching into neighboring Christian residences.

The alarming situation erupted following the discovery of scorched pages near electrical posts and close to the residence of the Christian families.

According to the official report, the mob set fire to a shoe workshop nearby and tried to gain access to the victim’s abode through neighboring rooftops. Reports also mention vandalism of electrical units and AC devices before setting the victim’s house on fire.

SHO Iqbal, alongside other officers, succeeded in extracting the man from his flame-engulfed house. Nevertheless, the mob encircled and attacked them with stones and clubs, inflicting graves injuries on the Christian individual.

The official narrative emphasizes that women were among those agitating the crowd and promoting aggressive conduct.

Rizwan Younus Gill, the victim’s nephew, mentioned to journalists that his family member was in stable health, denying any profanity and attributing the confrontation to a recent heated dispute involving TLP supporters that was apparently settled.

Assad Ejaz Malhi, the District Police Officer (DPO), hailed head constable Aneesur Rehman as a brave savior for confronting the mob to safeguard the Christian residents. He noted the deployment of more police forces throughout the city for the Christian community’s protection.

A communication on X from the Punjab Police indicated that church security had been amplified by order of the Inspector General of Police Dr. Usman Anwar. “Police officers continuously guard Christian worship sites with vigilance,” the statement declared.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Mohammad Faisal Kamran reviewed church security details in Lahore and deemed the measures satisfactory, as reported in a briefing from his office on X.

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