Sangla blasphemy accusation withdrawn


LAHORE: The man who accused a Christian in Sangla Hill of burning copies of the Quran has withdrawn his complaint, and leaders of the Muslim and Christian communities in the town have signed an agreement not to pursue the case or the case against Mus

The accusation of blasphemy against Younas Masih on November 11 enraged local Muslims, and they attacked Christian institutions in the town the next day, burning three churches, two parish houses, a convent, a girls high school and a dispensary. Daily Times has learnt from local sources that the complainant, Kalo Suniara, gave a written statement that Masih was innocent and local Muslim leaders and priests from the churches that were burnt then signed an agreement to forget the matter on January 5.

Nankana Sahib District Police Officer (DPO) Zulfiqar Hameed confirmed the report but said he did not have a copy of the agreement. Regarding the release of 86 Muslims arrested for attacking the churches, he said "investigations" were going on and the police would follow any directions the government gave it.

Masih was accused of setting fire to a 'Quran Mahal', a room used to store old copies of the Quran. Suniara and others lodged a First Information Report with the police on November 11 accusing him of blasphemy, and Masih was arrested the same night. It later emerged that the accusations were made by Muslims who owed Masih gambling debts.

A judicial inquiry was conducted into the attacks on churches but the report has not been made public. The men accused of attacking the churches and other Christian properties were not arrested

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