Horrific episodes of injustices unfold as police is rounding up innocent Christians in Jaranwala. Several videos have emerged on social media, where distressing scenes from the violence hit Jaranwala show Christians begging for safe return of their loved ones from police custody. They stated that police unfairly arrested their oved ones for the sake of interrogation about the arson that left a trail of destruction for Christians.
Situation remains perturbing for the local Christians as police reportedly rounding up Christians from various locations without due charges. It is reported that police conducts raids on Christians’ houses and arrests men while women are being harassed and intimidated.
A local priest from Jaranwala has confirmed that at least 20 Christians have been taken into illegal custody by the police. “We are not being told anything about the investigation, nor have the police shared what progress they have made against the rioters and instigators. Instead, our people are being harassed without reason. We have raised this matter with senior police officials, and they have assured us of intervention,” he told an international news agency.
Another incident was reported from Chalis Mor village in Jaranwala; a village in the vicinity of Jaranwala. There are only 3 Christian families living in this village where police conducted raids and took Christian men into illegal custody. A woman while narrating the horrific incident said that police stormed into their house and started beating her son. Her husband Shahid Aftab was not present at the time of the raid. She said that the policemen brutally beat her son they even tortured her daughters and tore their clothes. Her husband was taken into custody illegally; while her relatives living nearby were also taken into custody.
Local Christian leaders are exasperated following a press conference from Punjab Police Inspector General (IG) Usman Anwar when he stated that mob violence in Jaranwala on August 16 and desecration of a copy of the Quran in Sargodha on August 19-20 were evidence of a conspiracy involving Indian officials to detract attention from India’s mistreatment of Christians. A senior Pakistani church leader Bishop Azad Marshal said that IG Usman Anwar’s statements imply that poor Pakistani Christians are Indian spies, which is dangerous for the entire Christian community.
Bishop Azad Marshal said that he had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking the formation of a judicial commission to investigate all aspects of the Jaranwala arson. Further seeking justice for negligency displayed by police and the district administration officials by showing reluctance in taking steps to prevent mob violence against Christians on August 16, 2023. “The Jaranwala incident could have been prevented if appropriate steps were taken from the attacks in Shantinagar, Gojra and Joseph Colony, etc., but it seems our state apparatus isn’t interested in addressing the root cause that leads to such senseless violence,” he stated.