August 17, 2023
By Maryam Missal
After the disturbing mob violence in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, criticism has risen from both domestic and global circles over Pakistan’s inadequate law enforcement, destroying several Churches and Christian residences.
The incident happened in a Faisalabad Tehsil, where allegations of blasphemy by a 24-year-old Christian triggered assaults on Churches and the Christian population. Calls from local mosques urged Muslim residents to retaliate for the alleged blasphemy, exacerbating the situation.
Amid heightened emotions, police authorities stepped in, aiming to appease the crowd by assuring them that a First Information Report (FIR) had been filed against the accused individual on charges of blasphemy.
Following these incidents, national and international media has raised their concerns regarding the law and order situation in the country that has led to repetitive incidents of mob violence under the allegations of blasphemy.
Amnesty International, an international human rights watchdog, has released a detailed statement regarding the incident. Rehab Mahamoor, an interim regional researcher for South Asia at Amnesty International, emphasized that the mob attacks are the latest manifestation of the ongoing threat of vigilante violence following blasphemy accusations. Religious minorities are disproportionately vulnerable to such violence.
Pakistan: Authorities must ensure protection of minority Christian communityhttps://t.co/HT6CGG0bWx
— Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office (@amnestysasia) August 17, 2023
The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a human rights body of the Catholic Church, has also criticized the incident. According to NCJP, The incident underscores the need to address blasphemy law misuse and restore community trust.
NCJP While expressing solidarity with the affected Christian families they called upon the Christian community to keep praying for the aggrieved families.
The Woman Action Forum denounced the incident and highlighted that these recurring acts of destruction based on unverified charges underscore the government’s lack of responsibility towards its vulnerable citizens.
WAF Lahore strongly condemns the outrageous attack by a mob on churches & citizens of the Christian community in Jaranwala on alleged blasphemy. Such repeated acts of vandalism on unverified charges reflects government's lack of responsibility towards the vulnerable citizens. pic.twitter.com/7S96seTbag
— Women's Action Forum – Lahore (@WAFLahore) August 17, 2023
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also issued a statement condemning the attack. They noted that the frequency and severity of these attacks, which are both systematic and violent, appear to have increased in recent years. The state not only failed to protect religious minorities, but it also allowed extremist ideologies to take root in society and politics.
The mob-led assault on Christian families and their homes and sites of worship in #Jaranwala, Faisalabad, following allegations of blasphemy, must be condemned in no uncertain terms. The frequency and scale of such attacks—which are systematic, violent and often uncontainable—
— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) August 16, 2023
The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC) strongly condemned the mob attacks on Christian Churches and Houses. They demanded immediate action against those responsible for these heinous acts.
The JAC suggested that if the state had taken serious measures against culprits involved in previous hate crimes and mob violence, the Jaranwala incident might have been prevented.
The JAC urged the government to take swift action to apprehend the individuals behind these attacks and hold them accountable under the law.
The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) called on the government and law enforcement agencies to promptly address the situation. They emphasized that blasphemy laws have frequently been misused without consequences.
4 churches burnt, three belonging to Salvation Army & one FGA church. Countless Bibles burnt, many families in hiding. Situation is sad & shameful. Blasphemy laws have repeatedly been misused with impunity. Police must take swift & strong against perpetrators of this violence. https://t.co/B077d0Q0nf
— National Commission for Human Rights (@nchrofficial) August 16, 2023