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Pakistan Punjab Top Stories

Desecration of Quran in Faisalabad, Multiple Churches Vandalized, Rangers Summoned for Action

Jaranwala: In the Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad, the second largest city of Punjab province, multiple churches were vandalized and then set on fire after allegations of blasphemy. Rangers have been summoned for intervention, and orders for action have been given.

According to media reports, in the city of Jaranwala, Punjab, police registered a case under blasphemy charges against a person for alleged desecration of the Quran. People took to the streets, and during the protests, during which miscreants set fire to a church. The situation in the city remains tense after the incident.

According to media reports, police registered a case under blasphemy sections after the alleged incident of desecration of the Quran. According to the FIR, the incident involves uttering blasphemous words and desecrating the Holy Quran at Cinema Chowk in Jaranwala. Upon receiving information about the incident, the police reached the location and found papers of the Holy Quran with derogatory words written in red ink, while the suspect had already fled. The accused has been charged under sections 295-B and 295-C, which, upon conviction, carry the death penalty.

Following this incident, agitated individuals gathered outside a local church where some agitators engaged in vandalism and later set it on fire. There were also reports of vandalism in the office of the Assistant Commissioner.

Jaranwala’s Pastor Imran Bhatti told Dawn News that vandalism occurred at the Salvation Army Church in Isa Nagar, the United Presbyterian Church, and the Sharon Church. He further said that the house of the Christian accused of blasphemy has also been destroyed.

Head of Punjab Police, Usman Anwar, while speaking to the media, revealed that some small chapels consisting of 2-3 houses and a central church are located in the narrow streets of this area. Miscreants have damaged parts of the chapels. Usman Anwar further that the assistant commissioner of the area has also been moved to a safe location as people had turned against him.

However, Christian leaders have alleged that the police remained silent spectators. In a statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Bishop Azad Marshall, President of the Church of Pakistan, said Bibles have been desecrated and false allegations of desecration of the Quran have been leveled to torture Christians and harass them.

Many posts on social media claim that several members of the Christian community living in this area have left their homes. One of the viral videos shows a police officer trying to convince the angry mob that legal action will be taken against the accused after his arrest, but the mob insists on instant punishment for the accused.

Furthermore, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq has ordered action over the attacks and arson against the Church and chapels of the Christian community in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, after accusations of blasphemy against the Quran. In a statement, the Prime Minister said he was extremely hurt by the news coming from Jaranwala, Faisalabad. Strict action will be taken against those who take the law into their own hands and target minorities.

Moreover, he said that all law enforcement agencies have been told to arrest the criminals and bring them to justice, be assured that the Government of Pakistan stands with its citizens on the basis of equality.

Former Prime Minister and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif strongly condemned the desecration of the church in Jaranwala and the burning of Christians’ homes, saying Pakistan was made with the vote of the Christian community and this behavior towards such friends is extremely unfortunate. In his statement, he said the Christian community has sacrificed lives for Pakistan’s security and defense, and we can never forget these sacrifices and service to the nation.

Former Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed concern over the situation of peace in Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad and demanded that the administration take all resources to control religious tensions and restore peace in Jaranwala.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi said religious leaders have visited Jaranwala to control the situation. A statement issued by PUC and the international interfaith harmony council said religious leaders are constantly in contact with the people to control the situation and promote interfaith harmony.

According to the sources, over 100 people who were allegedly involved in vandalizing churches and Christian houses had been arrested and the police have registered a case against two Christians for blasphemy.

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