Eight held in Punjab village over ‘trial by fire’ ritual

MULTAN: Police arrested eight people after three men accused of serious crimes were made to walk over hot coals in a ‘trial by fire’ ritual to prove their innocence.

A jirga in Mana Ahmadi tribal village in Punjab ordered two murder suspects and one accused of adultery to undergo the ordeal on Sunday, local police official Saeed Khan Leghari told AFP.

The three men walked the length of a 24-foot strip of burning coals and were declared innocent by the council after apparently coming through unscathed.

“At least eight people have been arrested in connection with holding the jirga in which suspects were made to walk on fire to prove their innocence,” Leghari told AFP on Thursday.

Those arrested face charges of attempted murder and causing harm with fire, police said.

Local administration official Shafiullah Gondal confirmed the arrests.

Trial by fire, based on the premise that god will intervene to protect the innocent, has a history dating back thousands of years and across different cultures, though in Europe it was banned by the Church in the middle ages.