Churches vandalized over Blasphemy Allegations in Jaranwala, Faisalabad

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A furious mob wreaked havoc on multiple churches over blasphemy allegations in Jaranwala, a tehsil of Faisalabad, in Punjab Province, on Wednesday, upon the Christians residing in the neighborhood. Pastor Akmal Bhatti stated that the crowd came vandalizing the 5 churches out of nowhere. Mr. Bhatti also stated that the crowd was incited by the announcement in local mosques made by local imams.

Twitter was taken by a storm of images, coming from Faisalabad wherein images were showing smoke rising from the church structures while individuals were busy setting fire to furniture taken from churches over the supposed blasphemy. In addition to it, a Christian cemetery and a local government office fell victim to vandalism by locals. The entire nation of Pakistan, be it a Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Parsi, have shown solidarity with our Christian brethren and criticized the mob for vandalizing the churches in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, above everything else criticized the police role during the vandalization of the churches. Police Officers were standing right beside the mob fearing for their lives in case of initiating charge of fuel public.

Roads blocked due to churches vandalization over Blasphemy Allegations

The disturbance escalated as dozens of Christians blocked a nearby highway protesting the vandalism. A Jaranwala pastor, Imran Bhatti, stated that churches set on fire include Shehroonwala Church, Allied Foundation Church, Salvation Army Church & United Presbyterian Church, all situated in the vicinity of the Isa Nagri area. During the protests many Muslims also joined the sit in on the blocked road and showed solidarity in the cause.

The mob also attacked the residence of a Christian cleaner, who was accused of blasphemy. Simultaneously, the police registered the first information report against the accused under sections 295B and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which pertain to defiling the Holy Quran and using derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet.

Chief of Punjab police, Mr. Usman Anwar specified that efforts are being made to quell the situation between the Muslims and Christians. He further stated that the Area’s Assistant Commission, who is a Christian himself, has been requested to evacuate from the residence, due to hostile circumstances. The Christian leaders of the vicinity also lamented that police deputed over the area seemed to be passive bystanders during the vandalism.

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In response to the incident, Twitter was taken by a storm of political and religious leaders, who censured the violence and demanded justice for the Christian community, since ISLAM is a religion of peace and does not teach any violence against the innocent in any way.

Moreover, Former Prime Minister Mr. Shehbaz Sharif also requested the concerned authorities to initiate a severe crackdown against the perpetrators, whose Churches were vandalized over Blasphemy Allegations in Jaranwala, Faisalabad as well as requested the religious leaders to denounce such atrocity against our fellow Christian community.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also disapproved of the government for guarding the Christian minority’s religious places and stressed the need to ensure everybody’s safety during the chaos.

In totality, every Muslim politician especially the newly sworn Prime Minister Mr. Anwaarul Haq Kakar, religious leaders, civil society, and every human rights organization in Pakistan has condemned the actions of Muslims in the vicinity and called for unity and justice.

Prime Minister stated in his tweet

“I am gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala, #Faisalabad. Stern action would be taken against those who violate the law and target minorities. All law enforcement has been asked to apprehend culprits and bring them to justice. Rest assured that the government of Pakistan stands with our citizenry on an equal basis.”

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