ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed Friday reprimanded the Punjab police chief for failing to take action to safeguard the Hindu temple from a mob in Rahim Yar Khan, directing him to arrest all culprits involved in the incident.
Chief Justice Gulzar had taken suo moto notice of the attack on the temple in village Bhong, after meeting with Ramesh Kumar, MNA and Patron-in-Chief Pakistan Hindu Council.
More than a dozen men armed with clubs destroyed the Hindu temple of Rahim Yar Khan, chanted slogans and desecrated idols in places of worship. Video clips of the incident went viral on social media and aroused sharp criticism from Pakistani rights activists.
Justice Gurza expressed concern about this tragic incident and summoned the Chief Secretary of Punjab and IGP Punjab to appear in the Supreme Court and submit a report on the incident.
At today’s hearing, CJP expressed dissatisfaction with the incident and condemned officials, saying that the attack severely damaged Pakistan’s global reputation.
He said the police acted as a silent spectator while the mob vandalised the temple. “What were the police and administration doing?” the CJP asked.
To this, IGP Inam Ghani said the assistant commissioner and ASP were present at the scene, and that the administration’s priority was to provide security to the 70 Hindu families 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.
IG Inam Ghani informed the court that no one has been arrested in connection with the case so far, when Judge Qazi Amin asked what action the police had taken.
Another Attorney General, Sukhail Mahmoud, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken note of the matter.
In this regard, CJP Gulzar said that the court will focus on the legal perspective of the case.
“Three days have passed, but no one has been arrested,” said the chief justice, disappointed.
Justice Amin said police has failed to perform its duty.
“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 8-year-old Hindu boy who was arrested by the police. The police chief of Punjab told the judge that the boy was first brought before the magistrate.
“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?”
In response, Justice Gurza ordered the removal of the SHO who arrested him.
The Supreme Court ordered action against criminals and ordered officials to submit reports for the next hearing scheduled for August 13.
The SC also ordered the establishment of a peace committee to ensure religious harmony among followers of different faiths.