August 29, 2023
By Ahmed Saeed
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab, Dr. Usman Anwar, has stated that the incidents of blasphemy in Jaranwala and Sargodha appear to be part of a larger conspiracy orchestrated by a foreign intelligence agency. The motive behind this conspiracy, according to the top police official, was to incite violence against the Christian community and divert global attention from the tragic communal violence in the Indian state of Manipur.
Speaking in an interview with senior journalist Munizae Jahangir on her show “Spotlight” aired on Aaj News, Dr Usman Anwar elaborated that “the blasphemy cases in Jaranwala and Sargodha were carried out with the intention of igniting violence against Christians.” He added that “these actions were intended to distract the world from the distressing events of communal violence that unfolded in Manipur, where over 130 Christians lost their lives, women were subjected to heinous acts, and humanity itself was brutally violated.”
He assured that measures were taken to apprehend those responsible for the conspiracy behind incidents like Jaranwala and to ensure that such occurrences would not recur.
The IG Punjab also disclosed that in the case of Sargodha two individuals linked to an alleged blasphemy incident were apprehended and police recovered some documents from them that established their connection with a hostile foreign intelligence agency.
Talking about the ongoing investigation in the Jaranwala blasphemy case, the IG Punjab revealed that the police had nabbed three more people besides two Christian brothers who were initially named in the blasphemy FIR.
In response to a question about the delayed police response, Dr. Usman Anwar said “Muslims do not condone blasphemous acts and the desecration of the holy Quran. In response, the police had to employ calculated measures to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.”
He further said that the police responded swiftly in Jaranwala, evacuating Christians from their homes and relocating them to a safer location. This proactive action played a crucial role in averting any loss of human life in Jaranwala.
Dr. Usman Anwar said that so far 189 individuals have been formally arrested in connection to the Jaranwala incidents, utilizing geo-fencing and facial recognition technology.
He said that the Police would make a strong case against all the accused so that they could not escape punishment citing legal lacunae. However, representatives of the Christian community expressed concerns that the focus on foreign conspiracy might complicate the prosecution case.
Director of Center for Social Justice (CSJ) Peter Jacob said that 91 cases of violence including suicide bombings and mob attacks have happened against the Christian community since 1997. “ I think this would be another case of violence against minorities where a foreign conspiracy is being found. It would be difficult to explain it to people from where such a large number of conspirators come,” Jacob said.