Joint Action Committee (JAC) appeals to Chief Minister Punjab to intervene in Sargodha to protect minorities 

LAHORE: In an urgent appeal sent to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, the Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC) has urged her immediate attention on the worsening situation in Sargodha and other places vis-à-vis to address attacks on minorities and the apparent lack of enforcement of the writ of the law. 

Representing around 35 organizations, Irfan Mufti, JAC Convener, stated that in the past few days, the Christian community in particular faced intimidation and threats issued by individuals and groups following the gruesome killing of Nazir Masih in a mob violence. The local Meesaq Centre of Sargodha police was approached for immediate action against the people issuing threats but police failed to respond promptly.

The appeal further stated that the unrest persists as the family of Nazir Masih and the Christian community, comprising 150-200 families, were unable to resume normal life in the localities of Gillwala and Mujahid Colony, Sargodha. Moreover, all the assailants involved in the mob violence had not been apprehended. Meanwhile, TLP openly issues threats of violence and holding gatherings in violation of section 144 of the Cr.P.C., and also demanding the release of suspects in the case of mob violence.   

TLP local leaders addressed a Protest March in Sargodha, justifying the killing of Nazir/Lazar Masih. They threatened the administration that TLP would confront law enforcement agencies like in the past.

The urgent appeal also called for initiating a trauma healing for the city referring to the HRCP’s recent fact-finding report on the incident that also recommended, controlling hate speech against minorities, apprehending the culprits, and initiating the healing process.  

The communication sent by JAC urged the Chief Minister to receive updates directly from the affected communities, order legal action against the violator of laws, acknowledge the severe impact of abuse of blasphemy laws in Punjab, and resolve that the government will adopt a strategy to overcome this menace swiftly. The appeal further called upon the Punjab government to upgrade the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Police to effectively deal with mob violence, and set up a Commission of Inquiry under the Inquiry Commission Act of 1956 to investigate blasphemy cases.