Two of Pakistan’s biggest religious riots have finally gotten their day in court — with strikingly different results.
An anti-terrorism court in Lahore last week sentenced 42 Christians for rioting after two churches in Pakistan’s largest Christian neighborhood were bombed in 2015, the Christianity Today website said citing Fides, the Vatican’s news agency.
The ruling comes less than a month after the same court acquitted more than 100 Muslims for rampaging through another one of Lahore’s major Christian communities in 2013 over one man’s alleged blasphemy.
The 42 Christians were roughly half of those accused of murder and terrorism after two Muslim men suspected of bombing Sunday services in Youhanabad were killed. The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), an initiative of Pakistan’s bishops’ conference, said that they were disappointed that the church attackers have not been punished.
Left unpunished were the approximately 112 Muslims who were arrested for ransacking, looting, and setting fire to more than 100 homes in Joseph Colony in 2013.
The court found them innocent despite eyewitnesses and videos of the attack, according to World Watch Monitor.
“The evidence was not enough to prove the crime,” said judge Chaudhry Muhammad Azam.
The two cases from Lahore, the second-largest city in Pakistan, stood in stark contrast to the promise of Pakistan’s prime minister in January that the country will soon “better the lives of minority groups.”