The prosecutor who attempted to forcefully convert Christian prisoners in Pakistan to Islam in exchange for their freedom has been released on bail. 42 Christians remain imprisoned in connection to the Youhanabad church bombings and the following riots. During the riots, a mob of Christians killed two Muslim men they claim were involved in the bombings. During the lead up to trial, a prosecutor offered some of the Christians their freedom in exchange for converting to Islam. When this was reported, the prosecutor was arrested and removed from the prosecutor’s office. Forced conversions to Islam are common in Pakistan with the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan estimating that as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam each year.
05/31/2017 Pakistan (Dawn) – The prosecutor, who was blamed for asking the under trial Christian accused of the Youhanabad lynching case to embrace Islam for getting released on bail, has been found guilty of the charge in an inquiry started against him under PEEDA (Punjab Employees Efficiency and Discipline Act).
Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah had allegedly asked the 42 under trial Christians to embrace Islam after the hearing of the case of lynching of two Muslim men on March 28 this year.
The lynching took place in the aftermath of two suicide bomb attacks outside two churches in Lahore’s Christian colony Youhanabad.
The incident had taken place in March 2015 and the case is being tried by a Lahore anti-terrorism court.
“It is my recommendation, the final decision would be made by the competent authority,” said Prosecution Department’s Director General Monitoring and Evaluation Ashraf Bhatti who was the inquiry officer, confirming on telephone that the prosecutor had been found guilty.
Mr. Shah was removed from his post immediately after the allegation was levelled against him. An inquiry was ordered under PEEDA. Punishment under this law is given by the competent authority after hearing an accused.
Officials said under the law, the hearing by the competent authority is held to impose punishment on the basis of the findings of an inquiry.
They rejected the idea that conversion to Islam could benefit any accused in any case being tried by any anti-terrorism or normal court. “No law enforced in Pakistan provides for it,” a senior prosecutor said.