Youhanabad blasts uproar: 42 Christians convicted of terrorism by Anti Terrorism Court

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An Anti-Terrorism court in Lahore has convicted 42 Christians of terrorism. During the hearing on February 20, the court has pronounced these Christians of terrorism during the protests that erupted as a result of the bombings in two churches in Lahore’s Youhanabad area.

Attacks on churches in Pakistan

Details emerged that the Anti-Terrorism Court has also denied bail to these Christians. In connection with the protests and damage to public property case, the Nishtar Colony Police had arrested 84 Christians and brought charges of murder and terrorism against them.

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Those arrested included three Christian rights activists and social workers who were labeled as instigators of agitation and violence following the blasts in Youhanabad on March 15, 2015. Christians allege that the Nishtar Colony Police has sided with the guilty parties and declared two Islamists and facilitators of the bombers are innocent. Moreover two men namely Muhammad Naeem and Muhammad Babar Nauman were lynched by the agitated mobsters.

Initially the police registered case against 500-600 Christians in terrorism charges for violently protesting. This case was registered against unknown Christians. While no real action was taken against those who had perpetrated the attacks.

A year later, National Commission for Justice and Peace in its statement had expressed disappointment stating: “The NCJP expresses disappointment on the role of the law-enforcement agencies as they only focused on the lynching incident while describing it as the worst form of terrorism. The Commission stands strongly against such street justice but would also like to draw the attention of the competent authorities towards the treatment meted out to the perpetrators of this crime.”

The Commission further expressed serious concerns over the inaction of police in this case stating: “The community still mourns the loss of their loved ones, whose bravery and sacrifice saved the lives of many innocent worshipers who were praying in the two churches on March 15, 2015.” At the same time the Commission demanded that that the perpetrators of the bombing should be brought to justice.