A recently released, highly researched report conducted by a senior judge suggests that violence against Christians in Pakistan over the past five years could have been prevented by the country’s local authorities.
The report also suggests that the country’s blasphemy laws be modified to prevent future violence, primarily through removing special protection for Muslims and inserting punishment for those who exaggerate blasphemy accusations.
The Pakistani government reportedly ordered a senior judge to conduct a review following the anti-Christian riots which took place in 2009 in Gojra town, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, during which eight Christians were killed after angry mobs, fueled by the rumor that a Quran had been desecrated, torched Christian homes, a church, and shot at Christians in the streets.
The mob, which accumulated strength in numbers over several days following encouraging sermons at local mosques, torched the Christian neighborhoods of Gojra after it was rumored that family members of a Christian couple used torn-up pieces of the Quran as confetti at a Christian wedding ceremony.
Although 113 suspects were arrested for their alleged involvement in the riots, no one was ultimately tried because no witnesses were willing to testify. One resident, Rafiq Masih, told the London Times shortly after the riots that police stood idly by while the rampage ensued.