13 more Christians of Youhanabad released on bail
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has granted bail to 13 more Christians who were charged by police and were in jail for damaging government property during protests in early in March, after two churches were attacked in Youhanabad.
Several other Christians were granted bail in July through CLAAS’s legal aid programme. The police registered an FIR (first information report) against them under several sections, including terrorism.
The majority of people refused to commit any such crimes and according to them they are being victimised because they are Christians. Interestingly, the government of Punjab is pursuing this case and submitted a petition in the high court who cancelled their bails. It also submitted a cancellation petition in the Supreme Court, but this was denied.
According to reports three separate FIRs have been registered against 500 to 600 unknown Christians and the police can arrest anyone whenever it wants. Although Christian leaders have raised their concerns at this attitude of the police, but it is falling on the deaf ears of the Government.
Apart from these Christians, there are still 41 Christians who have been arrested, accused of lynching two Muslims suspected to be terrorist accomplices.
Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Prime Minster Mian Nawaz Sharif, has taken a special interest in the case, as according to some people, he wants to teach a lesson to the local Christians.
Shahbaz Sharif is the local MP of Youhanabad, and never visited the area before or after the attack on the churches in which at least 14 Christians were killed, and 78 people were reportedly injured.
CLAAS continues to provide free legal aid to those who are asking. Apart from the above mentioned Christians who were granted bail, CLAAS continues to represent at 23 Christians who have been arrested on suspicion of killing two Muslims during the protest.
Unfortunately the aftermath of Youhanabad still continues, so kindly please keep praying for them.