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Pakistani court clears 155 people of burning Christian homes

Christian worshippers pray at a Christmas mass in December 2016. (CNS photo/Faisal Mahmood, Reuters)

A defence lawyer in Lahore, Pakistan, says a court has acquitted all 155 of his clients who were accused of torching homes in a Christian neighbourhood.

Ghulam Murtaza said yesterday that anti-terrorism court judge Chaudhry Azam acquitted his clients due to a lack of eyewitness testimony against them.

An enraged mob are said to have torched dozens of houses in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood in Lahore in March 2013. Prosecutor Waqar Bhatti said the government will appeal the verdict.

The houses were torched following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man who was accused of insulting Islam’s prophet at a barber shop.

No one was hurt in the attack as Christian residents had already left their homes in fear. The government subsequently rebuilt the homes and has since compensated the residents.