Jaranwala Case: SC Directs Sargodha DC To Submit Copy Of 'Gestapo' Agreement With TLP

Directs Punjab govt, police to submit progress reports on Jaranwala JIT, security plan

Jaranwala Case: SC Directs Sargodha DC To Submit Copy Of 'Gestapo' Agreement With TLP

The Supreme Court on Friday summoned the Sargodha Deputy Commissioner and directed him to submit a copy of an alleged agreement he had signed with an organization to outsource blasphemy monitoring apart from seeking progress on investigations into the Jaranawala incident.

This was directed by a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, on Friday as it heard an application urging the top court to take notice of the Jaranwala incident.  

Minority rights activist Samuel Pyara had applied in a case of implementing decisions of the top court taken in a suo moto notice on minorities' rights. 

During Friday's hearing, the court heard that the Sargodha administration official had allegedly entered into an agreement with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). 

Per the agreement, committees shall be formed which would patrol areas where Christian community members resided and monitor and check blasphemy issues, a call back to the Gestapo patrols and collaborators of the Nazis in the second world war. 

The agreement had been signed in the wake of the Jaranwala incident, where nearly two dozen churches were ransacked and torched while houses of Christian citizens were looted after damaging their properties. 

During the hearing, the bench was informed that many families had fled during the incident. In their absence, their houses were looted and plundered. 

However, the victims whose houses were looted and plundered shall file their applications before the Punjab government for compensation. 

A report was also sought from the Punjab government regarding compensation paid to victims' families and those whose houses were looted and plundered. 

Samuel Pyara told the court that after the Jaranwala incident, the police had arrested 38 citizens belonging to the Christian Community. Of these, the Lahore High Court discharged cases of 36 people. 

As a result, Pyara said that the Christian community was feeling insecure and harassed. 

The bench directed the Punjab police to protect the community against harassment. 

The court was apprised that the Punjab government had devised a plan to keep the Christian community safe, but it has yet to be implemented.

The provincial government and Punjab Inspector General of Police were directed to submit a report regarding the security plan. The Punjab Law Department was directed to submit a report on the matter. 

The top court has also directed the Punjab government to submit a report on the progress made by Joint Investigation Teams probing the Jaranwala incident. 

The top court further directed the Federal Interior Ministry to submit a report regarding the first information reports (FIRs) registered regarding hate speech against the Christian community on social media. 

Sikhs under threat

Earlier, Sardar Vishan Singh, a representative of the Sikh community -- which ruled Punjab until a century ago, appeared before the bench and complained that their Gurdwaras were encroached upon or demolished. 

He contended that land grabbers have usurped some graves of their community's elders and martyrs. He requested the bench to direct the relevant authority to stop the encroachment on Gurdwaras and to bar the authorities from leasing out lands of the Gurdwaras. 

The bench directed the provincial government and other relevant authorities to file a detailed report on Gurdwaras. 

Justice Ijazul Ahsan highlighted Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's view on minorities' rights in Pakistan and remarked that protecting citizens and the rights of minorities was the state's responsibility. 

The top court then adjourned further hearings until the third week of September.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain