A Pakistani prosecutor was pulled from a case after he offered acquittal to 42 Christians accused of lynching in exchange for their conversion to Islam, according to activists.
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Joseph Francis of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) said Deputy District Public Prosecutor Syed Anees Shah had guaranteed acquittal for the Christian suspects in a lynching case if they embrace Islam. However, some of the believers stood firm and refused to take the bait even if it could mean dropping the charges against them, Christian Broadcasting Network details.
Six months ago, Shah reportedly made the same offer to some of the Christian suspects. He explained to media that he was just offering the defendants a choice, but denied asking them to convert to Islam.
Reports of the offer of acquittal had sparked outrage among Christian leaders. Rev. Arshad Ashknaz of Christ Church, told AsiaNews that Shah's controversial act will paint the court in a bad light. He also said the Muslim prosecutor could be sued, and called on the government to reject such practices, UCA News reports.
Masiha Millat Party's information secretary Aftab Gill recently said the Punjab law office had pulled Shah from the case. The officer of the Christian party also applauded the decision and revealed their plan to petition for his dismissal.
"We welcome the Punjab government's decision to remove Shah after his controversial offer," said Gill "We are planning to file a formal application for his dismissal from his job."
The Christians were arrested after the lynching of two Muslims suspected to have been involved in a deadly attack on two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore on March 15, 2015. On that fateful day, some of the believers vowed to exact revenge on Muslims after 15 were killed and 70 were injured in the twin attacks.
The deadly church bombings ignited riots in the streets led by Christians. Vigilantes attacked two Muslims believed to be part of the terror acts.