February 13, 2024 – The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a landmark hearing held today, dismissed the Punjab government’s report on the Jaranwala incident, where a Christian community was targeted last year. Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, presiding over the case, expressed severe criticism of the report, stating that it was “worth throwing in the trash.”

The incident, which occurred on August 16, 2023, involved a violent mob attacking the Christian community in Jaranwala, near Faisalabad. Several churches were vandalized and numerous houses set ablaze following provocative announcements made in local mosques, accusing the Christian residents of blasphemy.

The interim Punjab government’s response included deploying paramilitary troops to restore order. However, the report submitted to the Supreme Court detailing the government’s handling of the incident and subsequent legal proceedings was found severely lacking in both detail and progress.

During today’s hearing, Chief Justice Isa condemned the report’s inadequacy, highlighting that despite the registration of 22 cases and the arrest of 304 individuals, only 18 FIR challans had been submitted over a period of six months. He questioned the effectiveness of the law enforcement and judicial response to the incident.

Chief Justice Isa also raised critical concerns about the broader issue of minority rights in Pakistan. He compared the situation to the mistreatment of non-Muslims in India, emphasizing the need for Pakistan to uphold justice and equality for all its citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs.

This rejection of the Punjab government’s report is seen as a significant moment in Pakistan’s legal history, particularly concerning the rights and protection of religious minorities. It underscores the Supreme Court’s commitment to ensuring that incidents like the Jaranwala violence are not only thoroughly investigated but also that justice is served in a timely and effective manner.

The hearing has drawn widespread attention and is expected to have far-reaching implications for how minority rights are addressed and protected in Pakistan. The Supreme Court’s stance is a clear message to all levels of government on the importance of accountability, especially in cases involving communal violence and religious discrimination.

As the nation watches, the Supreme Court’s decision marks a crucial step towards reinforcing the rule of law and safeguarding the rights of all citizens, paving the way for a more inclusive and just society.