Political preferences take precedence


Some victims of the Joseph Colony mob attack staged a protest outside the Governor’s House on Friday evening over the selected distribution of compensation cheques.
The protestors claimed that Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) MNA Akram Gill only distributed compensation cheques worth Rs 500,000 each amongst 112 of the 210 families rendered homeless by the mob attack. They demanded that the president should follow the precedent set by the chief minister and compensate all the victims without discrimination on party lines.
All 210 families affected by the Joseph Colony mob attack were summoned to the Governor’s House for the cheque distribution ceremony on Friday. The unequal distribution meant that some of the victims chanted slogans against Akram Gill and the president.
Akram, one of the Joseph Colony victims, said they were poor people who did not understand politics. He said they praised the Punjab government for starting work on their settlement immediately and gave them compensation cheques a day later at Town Hall. “We were asked to wait outside the Governor’s House since the morning for the cheques but were not compensated,” he said.
Nazir Maseeh, another Joseph Colony victim, said that his father had set the foundation of Josephy Colony. “We are PML-N voters so we were not compensated,” he said. “Our own people are corrupt.”
According to some residents, they had been told by the Punjab government that their cheques would be cashed after one month.
PML-Q MNA Akram Gill told Pakistan Today that 112 of the affectees were given cheques in the first phase. “The rest of the victims will be paid the cheques next week,” he said. He said that the Punjab government’s cheques could only be cashed a month later, while the cheques they had given were redeemable within two days. He said that those chanting slogans in favour of the Punjab government were planted by PML-N Senator Kamran Michael.
WE ARE GOING JUST FINE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that rehabilitation work of the affectees of the Badami Bagh incident is continuing expeditiously and besides repair and reconstruction of the houses, churches are also being renovated. He said that after repair of the houses, the process of their handing over is being started and 40 houses will be given to the affected families today. The Chief Minister directed that repair and reconstruction work of the houses should be accelerated so that the affected persons could return to their homes as soon as possible. He was presiding over a high level meeting to review the pace of rehabilitation of Badami Bagh affectees at Model Town on Friday.
ATC releases one, sends 13 to jail: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Lahore released one suspect and sent 13 others who were allegedly involved in a mob attack on Lahore’s Joseph Colony to jail on judicial remand.
The court had handed the 14 nominated suspects to police on physical remand on Monday. The police presented all the accused before the ATC on Friday. During the hearing, the court released one accused named Mian Muhammad Saleem after the investigation officer said that he was caught by mistake.
However, the court sent all the other 13 accused to jail on judicial remand.
It should be mentioned here that more than 150 houses of Christians living in the Joseph Colony were torched by an angry mob on March 9 over alleged blasphemous remarks by a local man. Punjab police arrested around 151 suspects with the help of CCTV footage and pictures.
Kashf lends a Rs 0.4m hand to Jospeh Colony victims: Kashf Foundation has provided Rs 0.4m worth of relief via an income transfer scheme for 44 families affected in the attack on Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh.
Kashf Foundation Managing Director Roshaneh Zafar distributed cash grants of Rs 10,000 to women from each of the 44 households. The aim of the relief was to help the affected households with daily expenses and needs while they re-settled. Kashf Foundation Chief Operating Officer Kamran Azim, Manager Human Resources Zainab Saeed and Regional Manager Yasir Ijaz were also present at the small ceremony which took place in the branch premises of Kashf Foundation near Yakki Gate.
At the ceremony, Managing Director Kashf Foundation Roshaneh Zafar shared that Kashf Foundation had been working in the area for the past 13 years and specifically Joseph Colony for past eight years and through these trying times Kashf Foundation would support the affected households. Moreover, she added that all Pakistanis had equal rights and the State must ensure the safety and security of their lives and their property.