Several churches vandalized, set on fire in Pakistan’s Punjab province

churches set on fire in Pakistan

Lahore: Several churches were vandalized on Wednesday on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The officers provided this information. The Salvation Army Church, United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church, and Shahroonwala Church located in Isa Nagri area of Jaranwala district of Faisalabad were vandalized, quoted Jaranwala Tehsil Pastor Imran Bhatti as saying.

Bhatti said that the house of a Christian sweeper accused of blasphemy was also demolished. Punjab police chief Usman Anwar said police were negotiating with the protesters and the area had been cordoned off. “The area has narrow lanes where two to three small marla churches are located and one main church. They vandalized some parts of the church,” quoted Anwar as saying.

The official said efforts are on to control the situation with peace committees and police have been activated across the province. Anwar said, “The assistant commissioner of the area is a member of the Christian community and he too has been removed from there following public protest.

Christian leaders alleged that the police remained mute spectators. Bishop Azad Marshall, president of the Church of Pakistan, said that “the Bible has been desecrated and Christians have been falsely accused of violating the Holy Quran and persecuted”.

He posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “We demand justice and action from law enforcement and justice providers and seek immediate intervention to protect all citizens. We want to be assured that our lives are valuable in our own motherland, where we have just celebrated freedom and independence. Bishop Marshall said that all priests, bishops, and lay, people, are “deeply saddened and distressed” by the incident.

churches set on fire in Pakistan

Former Senator Afrasiab Khatak condemned the incident and demanded that the culprits should be punished. He said, “The Pakistani state has failed to provide security to places of worship of people who follow religions other than Islam. The impunity for crimes committed in the name of religion has encouraged extremists and terrorists. Minorities in Pakistan, including Christians and Hindus, have often been accused of blasphemy, and some have been prosecuted and sentenced under harsh blasphemy laws.