Saturday Jan 12, 2019
LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the federal and provincial governments to compensate within a month those who suffered losses during religious parties’ protests following Asia Bibi’s acquittal.
A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard at the SC’s Lahore Registry a suo motu case pertaining to the losses and damage to property during the three-day long countrywide sit-ins staged by religious parties following a top court verdict acquitting Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case against her.
During the hearing, the chief justice remarked, “Reports have been submitted, we should be informed when and how compensatory payments will be made.”
The advocate general Punjab informed the court, “The federal cabinet has approved a compensation package amounting to Rs262 million.”
At this, Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked, “Has a compensation plan been prepared or is this just on paper?”
The chief justice remarked, “Over two months have passed but a complete plan regarding compensation packages has not been submitted. If the court hadn’t ordered then this plan wouldn’t have come either.”
A section officer of the Ministry of Interior then told the court, “We will make compensation payments this month.”
The court then directed federal and provincial governments to make compensation payments within a month. Further, the chief justice ordered that an implementation report be submitted in court after the payments are made.
Protests had erupted in several cities after the Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, on October 31.
Enraged masses had blocked several routes across the country for two days, while at some places they had also set fire to vehicles. The demonstrations saw closure of schools, colleges and universities, as well as cancellation of examinations.
The government and the protesters from different religious groups, led by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), reached an agreement two days later on Friday, November 2.