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Pakistan acquits 112 in case of torching Christian homes over blasphemy rumour

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – A Pakistani courtroom acquitted 112 suspects in the 2013 torching of lots of of Christian homes in the japanese metropolis of Lahore over a rumour that one of the residents there had blasphemed, a lawyer stated on Sunday.

In March 2013, greater than 125 homes in Lahore’s Josep Colony have been burned by a mob of greater than three,000 Muslims responding to rumours that a native Christian man, Sawan Masih, had made derogatory remarks concerning the Prophet Mohammad.

No one was killed in the incident however there was widespread injury to the property of the principally destitute Christians dwelling in the neighbourhood. Two church buildings and dozens of Bibles have been additionally desecrated in the assault.

Defence lawyer Ghulam Murtaza Chaudhry stated an anti-terrorism courtroom in Lahore had acquitted 112 individuals accused of torching and ransacking lots of of homes.

“They were acquitted by the court because of lack of evidences against them,” Murtaza advised Reuters. “The state witnesses could not identify the accused and their statements were also contradictory.”

All 112 suspects have been already out on bail.

A street sweeper in his late twenties, Sawan Masih advised police after his arrest on blasphemy fees that the actual purpose for the blasphemy allegation was a property dispute between him and a pal who unfold the rumour.

In Pakistan, conviction underneath the blasphemy legal guidelines can carry a compulsory dying sentence.

Masih was sentenced to dying in 2014, a choice he has appealed.

Critics of Pakistan’s blasphemy legal guidelines say they’ve lengthy been utilized by people and non secular teams to settle disputes.

This month, the Pakistani Senate’s human rights panel stated it might debate find out how to forestall the nation’s blasphemy legal guidelines being utilized unfairly, the primary time in many years that any parliamentary physique had thought-about a proper proposal to cease the abuse of the blasphemy legal guidelines.

Many conservatives in Pakistan contemplate even criticising the legal guidelines as blasphemy, and in 2011 a Pakistani governor, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by his bodyguard after calling for reform of the legal guidelines.

His killer Mumtaz Qadri was hailed as a hero by spiritual hard-liners. Tens of hundreds of supporters attended his funeral after he was executed final yr and a shrine was constructed over his grave quickly after his burial.

Hundreds of Pakistanis are on dying row for blasphemy convictions.

(Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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