Jaranwala incident: Over 100 arrested as govt orders high level probe 

Jaranwala incident: Over 100 arrested as govt orders high level probe 

Lahore (Web Desk): The caretaker Punjab government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the vandalisation of a number of churches and Christians' homes by an angry mob on Wednesday, following the alleged desecration of the holy Quran.

According to a statement by a provincial government' spokesperson, this was a well thought out plan to disrupt peace and a high-level investigation is underway regarding the desecration of the Holy Quran and incidents that take place afterward.

"A large mob of five to six thousand people gathered at various places of Jaranwala in different groups. They attempted to attack localities of a minority which was foiled by the police at various places. An attempt was made to damage various buildings which was pre-empted and countered by the police timely action," the statement said.

According to media reports, no loss of life was reported during the incident while police had made over 100 arrests so far.

Earlier, the United States (US) also voiced deep concerns over attacks on churches and homes and called for an investigation.

On Wednesday, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Wednesday said that he was “gutted” by the visuals coming from Jaranwala involving the attack on minorities, assuring that strict action would be taken against law violators.

“I am gutted by the visuals coming out of Jaranwala, Faisalabad. Stern action would be taken against those who violate law and target minorities,” the premier wrote on social media platform X, (formerly Twitter).

The interim premier also said that all law enforcement agencies have been asked to “apprehend culprits and bring them to justice”.

“Rest assured that the government of Pakistan stands with our citizenry on an equal basis,” PM Kakar said.

Earlier in a statement made on X (formerly Twitter), president Bishop of the Church of Pakistan Azad called for justice.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has demanded that the perpetrators and instigators of the violence should be identified and punished to the “full extent of the law”.

"The frequency and scale of such attacks, which are systematic, violent and often uncontainable, appear to have increased in the last several years," the HRCP said.

As per the media reports, an angry mob attacked multiple churches in the Jaranwala tehsil of Faisalabad on Wednesday over allegations of blasphemy.

The vandalised churches include Salvation Army Church, United Presbyterian Church, Allied Foundation Church and Shehroonwala Church situated in the Isa Nagri area.

An FIR was lodged against the persons accused of blasphemy under Sections 295B [pertaining to the desecration of the Holy Quran] and 295C [use of derogatory remarks...in respect of the Holy Prophet] of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Inspector General of Police Punjab (IGP) Usman Anwar said the police officials were negotiating with the protesters, adding that the area had also been cordoned off to avoid further damages.

Punjab Home Department spokesperson stated that a request had been sent for deployment of Rangers in the area.