KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly, while unanimously adopting a resolution, on Monday condemned the torching of the houses of the Christian community in Lahore’s Joseph Colony, and alleged the ruling party in the Punjab had planned the incident. 

Lawmakers came down hard on the PML-N for orchestrating the incident, and alleged that law-enforcement agencies in the Punjab province had failed to protect the innocent citizens.

The resolution, moved by the ruling PPP’s Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and co-signed by all the parliamentary leaders of the parties, including the MQM, PML-F, ANP, NPP and PML-Likeminded, was passed unanimously against the inhumane act in Lahore over the alleged blasphemy charge. The mover of the resolution said the burning of the Christian neighourhood on the alleged charge of blasphemy, particularly when no evidence of witnesses had been recorded and the accused was already in the custody of police, was an act of terrorism against the Christian community.

The assembly, through the resolution, recommended the Sindh government approached the provincial government in the Punjab not only to get attackers/terrorists punished but also to compensate those affected mentally and monetarily.

The provincial legislature through adopting the resolution condemned the blasphemy, if proved true, and resolved that the misuse of blasphemy laws like 295-B & C of the PPC should be restrained and they not be used for personal point scoring.

Speaking in support of the resolution, Saleem Khokhar of the PPP, who was elected on a reserved seat for the minorities, said the Constitution clearly stated the non-Muslims had equal political and cultural rights and had the autonomy and freedom to practise their religion.  He recalled that the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his speech on August 11, 1947, in the Constituent Assembly, said the first duty of a government was to maintain law and order, so that the life and property and religious beliefs of its subjects were protected.  The PPP MPA further said a total of 170 cases of blasphemy had been registered over the past 26 years, but not a single assertion proved till date, which showed the misuse of the blasphemy laws in the country.

He also condemned the Punjab chief minister, who applauded the role of the police which evacuated the Christians from the area one day ago. He alleged that the Punjab government was very well informed about the incident, but it did not take any preventive measures. He demanded registration an FIR of the incident against the Punjab government. MQM’s MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan alleged that the PML-N was involved in the incident as local MNA was hurriedly exited from the country by his party.

The MQM lawmaker further said the Punjab chief minister deliberately diluted the issue by saying it occurred due to lawlessness. He said the Punjab province had become a police state, where the PML-N had been fanning religious extremism. He also feared that the PML-N might use it against the political rivals in the coming elections.  PPP’s Agha Siraj Durrani, while speaking in support of the resolution, said the Punjab government had failed in protecting the lives and property of the people in the province.  The minister alleged that the incident of Joseph Colony was a pre-meditated act orchestrated by workers of the ruling party in the Punjab province. He said the Punjab government plotted the Joseph Colony incident. After brief speeches, the House passed the resolution unanimously.

Meanwhile, the House also passed anther resolution unanimously which was moved by Mrs Bilqees Mukhtar of the MQM, in which the assembly recommended the Sindh government approached the federal government to include/insert the blood group in Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs).