20 booked for `trial by fire` ritual in Pakistani Punjab
Lahore: At least 20 tribal elders in Pakistan`s Punjab province have been booked by authorities after they ordered two men to walk on burning coals to prove their innocence in adultery and murder charges, officials said on Monday.
The elders of a Baloch tribe were members of a `jirga` or council that was trying to impose tribal laws in Rajanpur district of Punjab.
The elders ordered the two men - Hasan Mohammad and Ameer Bukhsh Leghari to undergo the "trial by fire" ritual on Sunday after they were accused of murder and adultery, respectively.
Both men were declared innocent after their feet were inspected by the tribal elders. Their feet reportedly remained unharmed even after they crossed a 24-foot strip of burning coals.
While the "trial by fire" was underway, someone informed the Border Military Police (BMP) of Ranjanpur, located 400 km from the provincial capital of Lahore.
Policemen reached the spot and arrested six elders who were identified as Mureed Bukhsh, Maoj Ali, Maulvi Ibrahim, Jan Mohammad, Bhutto Nokani and Baz Ali. They also booked another 14 tribesmen under sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.
"We have booked 20 and arrested six for holding the trial," BMP Commandant Saifullah Khan told reporters.
Those arrested face charges of attempted murder and causing harm with fire.
Tahseen Raza, a local journalist, informed that the tradition of holding "trial by fire" rituals was centuries old and nobody opposed it.
"The tribesmen have no problems settling their disputes through this kind of trial," Raza said.
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