In an unacceptable incident taking place in Faisalabad’s Jaranwala Tehsil, an angry mob attached and burned down multiple churches over blasphemy allegations.
According to the details, a mob consisting of over 100 people stormed a local Christian neighborhood in Jaranwala and set fire to the Salvation Army Church, which was one of the oldest in the area.
The United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church and Shehroonwala Church situated in Isa Nagri were also reportedly vandalized by the mob, who later ransacked as well as burned down several homes in the Christian residential area.
According to media reports, the mob used loudspeakers at mosques in the area to incite violence over alleged desecration of religious scriptures by three Christians living in the area.
Meanwhile, a First Information Report (FIR) has lodged against the persons accused of blasphemy under Sections 295B [pertaining to desecration of the Holy Quran] and 295C [use of derogatory remarks towards the Holy Prophet] of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Despite the registration of the FIR, the locals decided to take law into their own hands and vandalized multiple churches and damaged private property in the area, spreading a state of panic amongst everyone.
The Punjab’s Services and General Administration Department issued a notification and called in Rangers paramilitary forces to normalize the situation.
After the Jaranwala incident took place, Bishop Azad Marshall of the Church of Pakistan Azad stated on social media, “A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been tortured and harassed having been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran. We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice and the safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our own homeland that has just celebrated independence and freedom,”
In response, Caretaker PM Anwaar ul Haq Kakar took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and stated, “I am gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala, Faisalabad. Stern action would be taken against those who violate 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 equal basis.”
I am gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala,#Faisalabad. Stern action would be taken against those who violate 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… https://t.co/GHWUGA1NNq— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 16, 2023
Netizens have shared several videos from the Jaranwala incident, showing how the angry mob attacked the Christian neighborhood and vandalized homes and churches.