- Web Desk
- 4 Hours ago
Jaranwala incident: churches, graveyard vandalised after blasphemy allegations
- Web Desk
- Aug 16, 2023
LAHORE: An angry mob torched multiple churches in Jaranwala, Faisalabad district, earlier today, following accusations of blasphemy. Apart from the churches, the crowd also set numerous houses ablaze before descending on a Christian graveyard, according to police sources.
A first information report has also been registered under sections 295B/C of the Pakistan Penal Code against the accused.
Reportedly, some ulema were also asked to negotiate with the crowd and calm them down.
According to Dawn, officials are trying to contain the situation by engaging with peace committees, while police across Punjab have also been activated.
The incident was sparked after two individuals were accused of blasphemy and, in response, clerics made announcements in mosques, inciting the mob to action, according to police spokesman Naveed Ahmad
At least five churches have been reportedly arsoned by the crowd.
Social media in Pakistan is flooded with visuals of the happenings in Jaranwala as civil administration called in for Rangers to be deployed to keep the law and order situation in control.
Caretaker Prime Minister, Anwarul Haq Kakar strongly condemned the attack and assured that law enforcement agencies were instructed to “apprehend the culprits”.
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
Other prominent political figures, including former interior minister Rana Sanaullah and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, have denounced the attack.
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
Sanaullah emphasised that such acts of extremism contradict the core principles of Islam, while Bhutto-Zardari urged the administration to restore peace and maintain law and order.
Strongly condemn the dastardly attack on the church in Jaranwala today. The culprits must be brought to justice at the earliest, and the law should take its due course. Extremism and hatred nullify the fundamental principles of Islam.
— Rana SanaUllah Khan (@RanaSanaullahPK) August 16, 2023
Meanwhile, President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan Azad Marshall said, “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.”
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
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat e Islami Pakistan condemned the events and said they were “against the teachings of Islam, the constitution and law of Pakistan.”
جڑانوالہ #Faisalabad میں توہینِ مذہب کے الزام میں مشتعل افراد کا Christian برادری کے گھروں اور چرچ پر حملہ اسلام کی تعلیمات،پاکستان کے دستور اور قانون کے خلاف ہے۔ اس کی مذمت کرتے ہیں۔
کسی بھی شخص، ہجوم اور بھیڑ کو خود عدالت، جج، خود وکیل اور جلاد بن کے کاروائی کے اقدام کا اختیار… pic.twitter.com/mtkYN2MBpI
— Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan | سینیٹر مشتاق احمد خان (@SenatorMushtaq) August 16, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, meanwhile, “condemned the failure of the local administration, police and government machinery to maintain law and order.”
جڑانوالہ میں مسیحی عبادت گاہ پر حملے اورعلاقے میں بڑھتی ہوئی کشیدگی کے تدارک کا معاملہ
پاکستان تحریک انصاف کی جانب سے جڑانوالہ میں پیش آنے والے واقعات پر نہایت تشویش اور افسوس کا اظہار
مقامی انتظامیہ ، پولیس اور حکومتی مشینری کیجانب سے امنِ عامہ کی صورتحال بررقرار رکھنے میں…
— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 16, 2023
Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan and though no one has ever been executed for it, numerous accused people have been lynched by outraged crowds.
(Additions from Reuters)