Mob attacks multiple churches in Jaranwala over blasphemy allegations

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FAISALABAD – An angry mob vandalised a number of churches in the Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad on Wednesday over allegations of blasphemy.

The Salvation Army Church, United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church and Shehroonwala Church situated in the Isa Nagri area were damaged during the incidents, a pastor told the local media. 

He said the protesters also razed a house of a Christian cleaner, who has been accused of blasphemy. 

Police have registered a first information report (FIR) against the suspects under sections 295B (defiling, etc., of the Holy Quran) and 295C (use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Inspector General of Police in Punjab Usman Anwar said the police officials were negotiating with the protesters, adding that the area had also been cordoned off to avoid further damages.  

Meanwhile, Punjab Home Department spokesperson Amjad Kalyar said that a request has been sent for deployment of Rangers in the area. 

President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan Azad Marshall has condemned the incident. Taking to Twitter, her wrote: “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 harrased 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.

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