Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Friday criticized the Punjab police chief for failing to protect a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan from a mob, ordering him to arrest all those responsible.
After meeting with Ramesh Kumar, MNA and Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Chief Justice Gulzar took suo moto notice of the assault on the temple in hamlet Bhong.
A group of around a dozen men armed with sticks vandalized a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan, screaming slogans and desecrating statues. The incident’s video footage went viral on social media, garnering harsh condemnation from Pakistani human rights advocates.
Justice Gulzar was concerned about the sad event and ordered the Punjab chief secretary and IGP to come before the Supreme Court and give a report on the matter.
During today’s hearing, the CJP voiced his unhappiness with the event and criticized the authorities, claiming that the assault had caused significant harm to Pakistan’s international reputation.
He said that the police stood by and watched while the crowd vandalized the shrine. The CJP inquired,
IGP Inam Ghani responded by saying that the assistant commissioner and ASP were on the site, and that the administration’s first concern was to give protection to the 70 Hindu families who live near the temple.
“Terrorism clauses have been added in the FIR,” he said.
“If the deputy commissioner and the DPO cannot perform their duties, they should be fired,” CJP Gulzar stressed.
When Justice Qazi Amin inquired what action the police had done, IG Inam Ghani told the court that no arrests had been made in connection with the matter thus far.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken note of the situation, according to Additional Attorney General Sohail Mehmood.
CJP Gulzar said that the court will concentrate on the legal aspects of the case.
“Three days have passed, but no one has been arrested,” said the chief justice, disappointed.
According to Justice Amin, the police have failed to fulfill their duties.
“Had there been professional officers in the force, the issue would have been solved by now,” the top judge observed, adding that one should ponder over how the incident has impacted Pakistani Hindus.
“Think, how would Muslims have reacted if a mosque was attacked,” he remarked.
He also asked about an arrest made by the police of an 8-year-old Hindu boy. The youngster was initially brought before a magistrate, according to the Punjab police head.
“What do you expect from an 8-year-old? What does an 8-year-old know about religion? Do the police have any idea about the mind of a young kid?”
As a result, Justice Gulzar ordered that the SHO who had apprehended him be removed.
The Supreme Court ordered the authorities to provide a report on the next hearing, which is set on August 13, after issuing orders to take action against the perpetrators.
The Supreme Court also ordered the formation of Peace Committees to maintain religious peace among people of all religions.