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RULER   :  Archive   :  1976 to 1995   :  PK Judicial Apr 1983


Judicial CP - April 1983

The Guardian, London, 18 April 1983

Muslims flogged en masse

From Ian Hoare in Islamabad

Pakistan's martial law authorities have carried out their biggest mass flogging in Karachi central gaol in an apparent attempt to stamp out the recurring outbreaks of sectarian violence in the city.

Prison sources said 84 people were given between 10 and 15 lashes. They included members of both sects involved in the clashes -- the minority Shi'a Muslims and the majority Sunnis -- and they had all been convicted by a summary military court in less than two days on charges including arson and looting.

They were also sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment.

The prisoners were tied to wooden frames and flogged by a team using canes half an inch thick and nearly five feet long. They were naked apart from a thin cloth which was placed over the buttocks, and the blows were delivered with full force. Blood was drawn and some of the prisoners collapsed afterwards.

This is believed to be the usual method of flogging in the gaol, although it is in violation of the guidelines for "Islamic" whipping set by religious leaders.

More than 300 other people were still being tried by a military court. Most were believed to be Shi'a militants who attempted to stage a mass demonstration on Friday, and became involved in clashes, in which several police officers were wounded.

The Shi'as were protesting at what they say was inadequate police protection during violence earlier in the week, when several thousand Sunnis went on the rampage.

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