Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Pakistan: ‘High-level’ inquiry ordered into vandalism of churches

by Asian News International

Lahore [Pakistan], August 17 (ANI): After a mob allegedly set fire to multiple churches and vandalised Christians’ homes, the interim Punjab government has ordered a “high-level” inquiry, Geo News reported on Thursday. 

On Wednesday, the mob made its way through a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad after allegations that the Holy Quran had been desecrated.

“This was a well thought out plan to disrupt peace and a high-level investigation is underway regarding the desecration of the Holy Quran and incidents that take place afterwards,” a spokesperson for the provincial government said in a statement, according to Geo News.

The spokesperson said police “foiled” the bid to attack the homes of the minorities, adding that the “peace committee” was mobilised to ensure similar attempts are thwarted.

Reacting to the attack, Human Rights Commission in Pakistan posted on X, formerly Twitter, “The mob-led assault on Christian families and their homes and sites of worship in #Jaranwala, Faisalabad, following allegations of blasphemy, must be condemned in no uncertain terms. The frequency and scale of such attacks—which are systematic, violent and often uncontainable.”

“… appear to have increased in recent years. Not only has the state failed to protect its religious minorities, but it has also allowed the far right to permeate and fester within society and politics. Both the perpetrators and instigators of this violence…,” the Commission added. 

It further stated that the perpetrators and instigators of this violence must be identified and punished to the full extent of the law. The government should not waste any time in raising and equipping special police forces to protect religious minorities’ sites of worship as directed by the 2014 Supreme Court judgment.

Earlier, over 100 people were arrested in connection with the church vandalism case, Geo News reported on Wednesday citing the Punjab interim government’s spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Christian leaders have alleged that the police remained silent spectators, Dawn reported.

President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, Azad Marshall, said Christians were being tortured and harassed.

Bishop Azad Marshall posted on X, “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 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,” he added.

Notably, minorities in Pakistan have undergone a series of persecution and targeted attacks over the past years. (ANI)

This story has not been edited by Khalsa Vox and is published from a syndicated feed.

Asian News International

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