Convert to Islam for acquittal offered to Christians accused in Youhanabad protests case


Lahore: March 30, 201. (PCP) The public prosecutor in Youhanabad protests case before hearing in court compound offered deal to 42 arrested Christians “convert to Islam” as a deal for their release and acquittal from case. The 42 Christian were charged with lynching two Muslim suspects after March 2015 suicide blasts that targeted Sunday Mass in two churches in Youhanabad in Lahore. As reports of offering Conversion to Islam to accused Christians appeared in section of print media in Pakistan, the spokesperson of Punjab government appeared on electronic media and announced to hold enquiry in this matter saying that government believes in religious freedom and harmony among different communities and such deals of conversions is not its policies. Meanwhile, Mr. Joseph Francis who is Chief Coordinator of one NGO named CLAAS which is providing legal assistance to Christians arrested in Youhanabad lynching case said that whenever Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group PML (N) comes in power in Punjab province of Pakistan then attacked supervised by its leaders rise and cases of blasphemy against Christians shoot up. Mr. Joseph expressed grave concerns on offering accused Christian acquittal on conversion to Islam and accused Punjab police on releasing one accused arrested in this case on Conversion to Islam who was kept in Kahna Police Station after arrest in 2015. According to Vatican Radio broadcast, Mr. Joseph Francis reportedly told one newspaper in Lahore that the accused were dumbfounded. One of them even spoke out, saying he was ready to be hanged if he had to convert. "The government should get rid of such elements that bring bad name to the state by such acts," said Naseeb Anjum Advocate, counsel for some of the accused, to The Express Tribune, about the Deputy District Public Prosecutor.

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