LAHORE - Reviving the tradition of former Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, the incumbent Governor, Makhdum Ahmad Mehmud, wrote a letter to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday showing concern over ransacking of Christians’ homes in Badami Bagh and asking him to take measures to forestall such incidents in future.
“May I draw your attention to the shameful incident that occurred on March 09, 2013 in the Christian community of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, Lahore, in which a large number of residential units, vehicles and two churches were set ablaze in broad daylight causing extensive damage. The incident has not only terrorised the minority community but also tarnished the image of the country internationally. It has intensified the sense of insecurity among minorities and the general public alike,” says opening paragraph of the letter.
The governor has observed that religious freedom and protection of minorities are enshrined in Articles 20 and 36 respectively of the Constitution and maintenance of law and order is the exclusive domain of the provincial government.
While reminding the chief minister of his obligations, the governor has said that protection of life, property and honour of the citizens is the first and foremost constitutional obligation of the government.
Ahmad Mehmud has stated that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony which places great emphasis on fair treatment of minorities. “You may recall that the Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his first address to the Constituent Assembly had unequivocally assured the minorities of an equal, fair and unbiased treatment in the State of Pakistan”, another paragraph from the letter says.
The governor has regretted that despite ample warning before hand, the local police and administration were unable to take effective preventive measures to defuse the explosive situation which had been created by an act of alleged blasphemy.
Makhdum also wondered why thousands of people were allowed to gather and the police sprang into action when the situation had already spun out of their control and the mob had gone berserk.
“Unfortunately, despite similar incidents involving persecution of minorities at Shantinagar and Gojra in the past, relevant lessons do not seem to have been learnt”, he observed.
While expressing satisfaction over initiation of disciplinary action against the local police and government’s intention to conduct a judicial inquiry into the incident, the governor hoped the government would take further measures to restore the shattered confidence of the Christian brethren as early as possible.
He noted that minorities do not deserve to be left at the mercy of religious bigots who hardly let go of any opportunity to perpetrate such incidents which dilute the writ of the government and breed mutual hatred. “I expect that the law enforcing agencies shall also learn from their mistakes and put in place a more foolproof mechanism to avert such incidents in the future”, the governor has remarked in his written communication with the chief minister.