Lahore, April 30(ANI): At least ten people, including police officials, were wounded in attacks on houses of Christian community members in Lahore on Saturday.
Photo Courtesy Dawn News.
Demonstrators attacked the residences of members of the Christian religious community in Gujranwala, and also shattered the windows of a Christian school in the neighborhood.
The attackers accused certain members of the Christian community of committing blasphemy, the Dawn reports.
Police and authorities in the area arrested 25 people for their involvement in the disturbances. Three Christians, including a priest, are among those arrested by the police.
The police are now patrolling the area of the incident. However, most members of the Christian community have reportedly locked their residences and fled the area. (ANI)
Police foil attempt to burn church
by Babar Dogar
Police broke up a mob of people armed with sticks that was threatening to attack a church Saturday after word spread that two copies of the Quran had been burned in eastern Pakistan, officials said.
The tiny Christian minority in predominantly Muslim Pakistan is often intimidated and subjected to mob violence. The crowds marching toward the church in the city of Gujranwala blamed Christians for the burning of the Qurans.
Police charged the crowd of 300 people marching toward the church, lightly injuring several protesters, said Saeed Wahla, the top administrator in the city. The protesters blocked a street with barricades of burning tires.
A burned Quran was found Saturday, and two weeks earlier several burned pages from the holy book turned up, said Nabil Awan, another local official.
Pakistan’s Christians, who make up 1.6 percent of the country’s population of 180 million, live in fear of being persecuted or arrested under the country’s harsh laws against blasphemy, which are often misused to settle personal scores or family feuds.
The laws call for the death penalty for anyone insulting Islam, its holy book or the Prophet Muhammad[PBUH].
The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, a Christian group, condemned Saturday’s march and demanded the government hold an inquiry to find out who was responsible for organizing it. The group said such incidents are “just a conspiracy to destabilize the country.”
Addressing the purported desecration of Qurans, the group said in a statement, “All Christians respect all the prophets, holy books and scriptures.”
“No one among (the) Christian community can even imagine committing such a heinous crime,” it said.
In neighboring Afghanistan, crowds outraged by the burning of a Quran at a Florida church protested for days and attacked a U.N. compound on April 1, killing three U.N. staff and four Nepalese guards.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb hit a minibus in a northwestern tribal region Saturday, killing two passengers and wounding nine others, said local official Javed Khan. The attack happened on Ladda road in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region.
Kurram lies near the Afghan border. Pakistan’s military has carried out several operations against Islamist militants hiding there after escaping last year’s army offensive in the nearby Orakzai tribal area.
The region has also been the scene of clashes between rival Sunni and Shiite communities for years.
After this horrific incident, I received a letter from Markaz Tehqiq Al-Haq and I want to share with readers here on Let Us Build Pakistan.
Dear friends, with deep sorrow and heavy heart I am informing you that this morning a mob attacked Christian population in Gujranwala, particularly, Aziz Colony.
All Community is under seige and cannot even get out of their houses. Police and civil authorities are trying to control the situation but it seams to be out of control. Christian community have been living under terror since April 15 when some pages of Holy Qur’an were found partly burned and allegedly a letter written in the language that was offensive to the prophet of Islam.
We have had sleepless nights and have worked tirelessly to control the situation but ultemately this has happened. Yesterday, there was a great danger of violence but it was lagely calm.
At the end of the day we thanked God for the seemingly calm situation. Today early in the morning there was again an incident of Holy Qur’an being found burned. Then mob gattered and attacked Christians.
Police used tear gas and short some ariel as there was intense firing from the mob. Lives and properties of thousands of Christians in Gujranwala are in grave danger. Seminary and other Christians institutions are also prime target. Please pray for us.