Pakistan Initiates ‘High-Level’ Investigation into the Desecration of Churches
17 August, 2023 | Vishakha Ahuja
"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 s...
The interim Punjab administration reportedly ordered a “high-level” investigation after a mob allegedly set fire to numerous churches and damaged Christians’ homes, according to a report from Geo News on Thursday. Following reports that the Holy Quran had been desecrated, the crowd moved into a largely Christian neighborhood on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad on Wednesday.
“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. Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission responded to the incident by posting on X, formerly known as 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 stressed that those responsible for this violence must be found and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. As instructed by the 2014 Supreme Court ruling, the government should not waste any time in creating and outfitting specialized police forces to guard the places of worship of religious minorities.
According to a spokeswoman for the Punjab interim administration, over 100 persons have already been detained in relation to the church destruction case, according to a report by Geo News on Wednesday.
According to Dawn, Christian leaders have claimed that cops stood by and did nothing. Christians are being tortured and persecuted, according to Church of Pakistan President Bishop Azad Marshall.
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, over the past few years, minorities in Pakistan have been the victim of numerous persecutions and attacks.