A Pakistani deputy district public prosecutor (DDPP), Syed Anees Shah, has been accused of blackmailing many Christians to embrace Islam to avoid being convicted for the killing of two Muslims in mass violence in 2015.
Forty two Christians were charged with lynching two Muslim men in March 2015, soon after suicide blasts targeted Sunday mass in two churches in Pakistan. Violence erupted in Youhanabad Christian neighbourhood of Lahore on March 15 after a mob lynched two men suspecting them of being involved in the blasts.
Joseph Franci, a rights activist who is legally assisting the accused Christians, said that DDPP Syed Anees Shah had told the accused in the case that they will be acquitted if they converted from Christianity to Islam, according to The Express Tribune.
"He told them if they embrace Islam, he can guarantee them their acquittal in this case," Joseph said. The activist added that the accused were dumbfounded when they were approached with the deal.
An advocate, Naseeb Anjum, said that the offer made by the public prosecutor was nothing new and that Shah had also given the same offer to some other accused around six months back, however they rejected it.
"They believe in independence of the court, but why is the DDPP blackmailing them? The government should get rid of such elements that bring bad name to the state by such acts," the advocate said.
When contacted, Shah denied making any such offers. However, when he was told that the accused had a video recording of him offering a deal to them, the public prosecutor attempted to defend himself by saying that he was just offering them a choice.