Blasphemy claims led to many churches being burned in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, on Wednesday.
According to media accounts, a mob of about 100 individuals rushed a Christian neighborhood in Jaranwala and burned the Salvation Army Church, one of the oldest in the region. The United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church, and Shehroonwala Church in Isa Nagri were also ransacked.
Mob Burned Churches In Faisalabad
Locals said the police watched as hundreds of protesters armed with sticks and batons vandalized churches and ransacked and burned homes in the residential area.
As fear grew, traders closed businesses and launched a strike. The vibe remained tight despite Jaranwala’s SP-led police presence. The crowd obstructed Cinema Chowk’s surroundings.
The police promised to punish the blasphemy suspect, but the crowd insisted on hanging him.
President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan Azad asked for justice on social media.
Words fail me as I write this. We, Bishops, Priests and lay people are deeply pained and distressed at the Jaranwala incident in the Faisalabad District in Pakistan. A church building is being burnt as I type this message. Bibles have been desecrated and Christians have been… pic.twitter.com/xruE83NPXL— Bishop Azad Marshall (@BishopAzadM) August 16, 2023
Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, has stated that individuals who targeted minority groups in Jaranwala by breaking the law will be held accountable for their actions.
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
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the current chairman of the PPP and a former foreign minister, has also condemned the act of violence committed against members of the minority population. He stated that he was “horrified to hear about the attack on Churches in Jaranwala, Faisalabad.”
In a post that he published on his official X account, he stated that “Violating the sanctity of places of worship is absolutely unacceptable.” It is the responsibility of the administration to protect the Christian community and the churches that they attend.
Horrified to hear about the attack on Churches in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, Violating the sanctity of places of worship is absolutely unacceptable. The administration must ensure the safety of the Christian community and their Churches.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) August 16, 2023
According to research that was gathered on blasphemy cases in Pakistan by the Centre for Social Justice, an independent organization that advocates for the rights of minorities, more than 2,000 people have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan since 1987, and at least 88 people have been killed as a result of these charges.