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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

PM Kakar vows strict action against mob that attacked churches, homes in Faisalabad

Images on social media showed smoke rising from the church buildings and people setting fire to furniture that had been dragged from them. The incident is being widely condemned on social media with the government vowing strict action.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar has vowed strict action against mob that attacked several churches and homes in Faisalabad over blasphemy allegations.

According to the details, over 100 people stormed a local Christian neighborhood in Jaranwala and set ablaze at least one church, the Salvation Army Church, one of the oldest in the area.

The United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church and Shehroonwala Church situated in Isa Nagri were also reportedly ransacked.

A Christian leader, Akmal Bhatti, said the crowd had torched at least five churches and looted valuables from houses that had been abandoned by their owners after clerics made announcements in mosques inciting the mob.

Read more: New govt. weaponized Pakistan’s blasphemy laws against Imran Khan: US panel

Locals accused the police of standing by as spectators as hundreds of people, armed with sticks and batons, vandalised the churches besides ransacking and even burning homes in the residential area.

Images on social media showed smoke rising from the church buildings and people setting fire to furniture that had been dragged from them. The incident is being widely condemned on social media with the government taking note of the incident.

“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,” interim PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said. 

Pertinent to mention that in Pakistan religious intolerance runs high. Accusations of blasphemy alone often lead to extreme and horrific measures. In March 2022, a female madrasa teacher was slaughtered by three other female teachers of the same seminary on blasphemy charges in Dera Ismail Khan.

Read more: Chinese engineer accused of blasphemy in Kohistan

Similarly, in December 2021, an angry mob accused a Sri Lankan factory manager, Priyantha Diyawadana, of blasphemy by allegedly tearing up posters containing holy verses. As a result, they beat him to death. Later they burned his body.