Pakistani Christians accused of lynching 'offered pardon if they convert to Islam'

Pakistani Christians accused of lynching reportedly offered acquittal if they converted to Islam

The men reportedly killed two Muslims in retaliation for suicide bombings on churches in Lahore (Stock photo)

Monday, April 3, 2017

A large group of Pakistani Christians facing trial for the alleged lynching of two Muslims in 2015 were reported to have been offered acquittal so long as they convert to Islam. 

A total of 42 men have been convicted over the deaths, which occurred in the wake of suicide bombings on two churches in Lahore which killed at least 15 people. They were convicted on terrorism charges in February.

It has been alleged that the lynchings were carried out to avenge the church bombings, with witnesses describing how an out-of-control mob descended on the two men, who were thought to be Taliban associates. 

February's ruling has cause outrage among Pakistan's Christian community, as it came just a month after 115 Muslim men charged with burning over 100 Christian houses were aquitted.

A legal activist told Pakistan's Express Tribune public prosecutor Syed Anees Shah has now guaranteed that the conviction of the Christian men will be overturned - provided they embrace the Muslim faith.

Pakistan is a majority-Muslim country and there have been several reports of Christian bodies being attacked and harassed over recent months, with mobs accusing them of blasphemy.

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