LAHORE: Over 100 individuals arrested after a mob set fire to several churches and vandalised Christians’ homes on Wednesday. The interim Punjab government has ordered a high-level enquiry.
While, After reports that the Holy Quran desecrated, the crowd marched through a mostly Christian neighbourhood outside Faisalabad, an industrial city.
“This was a well-planned plan to disrupt peace, and a high-level investigation is underway into the desecration of the Holy Quran and subsequent incidents,” a province government spokesperson said.
Moreover, The statement said police “foiled” the attempt to attack minority homes. The “peace committee” will prevent future attacks.
“The frequency and scale of such attacks. Which are systematic, violent, and often uncontainable. It appear to have increased in the last several years,” said an HRC report.
The rights group requested for special police troops to protect religious minorities’ worship locations. As ordered by a 2014 Supreme Court ruling.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar demanded harsh punishment for Wednesday’s bloodshed. He stated, “I am gutted by the visuals coming out.”
Police and rescuers reported at least four churches burned, but neighbours reported up to a dozen damaged churches.
Meanwhile, In a statement condemning the alleged blasphemy, Punjab province communications minister Amir Mir claimed several thousand police have ordered to safeguard the area and dozens of people have detained.
Moreover, Christian 31-year-old Yasir Bhatti fled his home in a small alley close to a mob-ransacked church.
“They broke windows, doors, and took fridges, sofas, chairs, and other home objects to burn in front of the Church. The ruthless burned and desecrated Bibles “he told AFP by phone.
Blasphemy is a delicate topic in Pakistan, where insulting Islam or Islamic icons can result in death.
Christian Community saddened
Moreover, In Lahore, Pakistani bishop Azad Marshall said the Christian community “deeply pained and distressed” by the incidents.
“We cry out for justice and action from law enforcement and those who dispense justice. The safety of all citizens to intervene immediately and assure us that our lives are valuable in our own homeland,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, The US asked Pakistan on Wednesday to examine east Pakistani mob attacks on churches and Christian homes amid blasphemy allegations.
“We are deeply concerned that churches and homes were targeted in response to reported Quran desecration in Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said.
He said the US supported free expression but “violence or the threat of violence never an acceptable form of expression.”
“We urge Pakistani authorities to investigate these allegations and call for calm,” he said.