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The concern of Pakistani Christians on state, local administration, and law enforcement authorities over the Jaranwala incident

In a petition filed by petitioner Peter Charles, the chairman of Grace Bible Fellowship Church Pakistan, through advocate Shahbaz Fazal Saroya, the court was informed about the ongoing threats to the community by certain locals.

The petitioner, in his submission, expressed discontent with the state, local administration, and law enforcement authorities, citing their failure to adequately ensure the safety of the community.

The petitioner lamented the inadequacy of these institutions in preventing a violent mob from setting fire to nearly twenty-two churches and attacking homes of Christian residents. These violent acts were triggered by allegations of blasphemy. The petitioner strongly urged for appropriate penalties to be imposed on all individuals identifiable in the CCTV footage and substantiated by other relevant evidence.

Additionally, the petitioner implored the court to issue directives to state authorities for the swift provision of financial and administrative support to the victims of the Jaranwala incident. This assistance is crucial for aiding these victims in recovering their normal lives after the upheaval caused by the mob violence, including the burning of churches and Christian homes.

According to the petitioner, the incident took place on August 16 in the city of Jaranwala district in Faisalabad. An “unreal, fake, and frivolous case” involving the desecration of the Holy Quran emerged. The news of this incident was disseminated by a “fanatic” through an announcement made at a local mosque.

This news triggered a vehement reaction, resulting in a mob setting fire to more than twenty-five churches and over 87 homes using incendiary substances and petrol bombs. The enraged crowd also vandalized and looted two hundred homes belonging to the Christian community in addition to the burning of churches.

In a further development, subsequent to the alleged desecration of the Quran, an enraged mob launched attacks on several churches and ransacked Christian homes in the Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad. Responding swiftly, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) apprehended “both main suspects” who were allegedly involved in the sacrilegious act. The suspects were then promptly transferred to an undisclosed location.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mohsin Naqvi, confirmed this significant development through his social media channels. On X (formerly Twitter), he declared, “A major breakthrough in the Jaranwala Incident – both main accused now in CTD Custody. Appreciation for Chief Secretary Punjab and IG Punjab for their relentless efforts.”

Naqvi also expressed gratitude for the unwavering concern of the Prime Minister, which guided their actions and facilitated the expedited arrest process. He acknowledged the trust placed in their team, enabling them to achieve record-time arrests. The individuals implicated were identified as Raja Saleem Masih and Rocky Masih.

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