Where is the Gojra report? – by Laila Ebadi

Pakistan has a history of compiling reports on controversial issues and then deciding not to make them public. An example is the Hamood ur Rehman Commission report which took 26 years to see the light of day.

Another such report is the one prepared by the Lahore High Court on the riots in Gojra in August of 2009. The report was prepared by a one-man tribunal of Justice Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman and submitted to the Punjab government on October 2009. Justice Hameed ur Rehman had interviewed 580 witnesses in the proceedings of his investigation which took two months.

According to news accounts, the report recommended the following:

The 258-page report recommends action “without any discrimination against those responsible for commission and omission”.

The report also proposes amendments to Pakistan Penal Code sections 295, 295-A, 295-B, 295-C, 296, 297, 298, 298-A, 298-B, 298-C, anti-blasphemy laws, relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Order 2002.

It recommends that federal intelligence agencies be mandated to provide “first-hand information at the divisional level”.

On July 7 of this year, Federal minister for minority affairs requested the Punjab government to make the Gojra report public. Perhaps Mr Bhatti has suddenly remembered that one year ago, he promised that the inquiry on Gojra would be made public. So far there has been no response from the Punjab government. The report was allegedly shared with the Punjab Chief Minister and Governor. Now Salmaan Taseer has been very vocal about opposing sectarian organizations in Punjab so it seems strange that he hasn’t mentioned the Gojra report or taken any steps to make it public. Shahbaz Bhatti also made many claims at the time that the findings of the report would be made public and acted upon. But it seems like no action is being taken to get the Punjab government to make this report public. In the meantime, targetting of minorities continues with two Christian brothers in Faisalabad being assassinated just this week. Have the findings of the 258 page long report been acted upon? Would acting upon the report have saved the lives of Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel? Does anyone think that the Punjab government is going to be under any pressure to implement the report’s recommendations until the report is declassified?



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