Churches in Pakistan's Jaranwala Tehsil Targeted in Violent Attacks Amid Blasphemy Accusations
Armed mobs have launched a violent attack on two churches and private homes in Punjab province's Jaranwala town, following allegations of blasphemy against two Christian residents. Videos circulating on social media depict hundreds of individuals armed with batons and sticks, setting fire to the Salvation Army Church and Saint Paul Catholic Church. Simultaneously, another group targeted residences, igniting fires and smashing windows.
In response to the escalating conflict, paramilitary Rangers have been deployed to maintain law and order in Tehsil Jaranwala District Faisalabad, according to an official statement. The unrest stems from the discovery of torn Quranic pages near a Christian colony, bearing alleged blasphemous content. Local religious leaders amplified the controversy, urging Muslims to protest and demand the arrest of the supposed culprits.
Shahid Mehmood, a local resident, recounted that a large crowd had gathered outside the Salvation Army Church by 10 a.m. He chose to close his shop just minutes after opening, given the tense atmosphere. The Christian colony near the church also became a focal point, suffering an attack that resulted in damage to several smaller churches.
Akmal Bhatti, chairman of Minorities Alliance Pakistan, strongly condemned the incident, denouncing the use of blasphemy laws to justify the violence. Bhatti highlighted that over 150 families resided in the Christian colony adjacent to the Salvation Army Church. As tensions escalated, families began evacuating the area, seeking refuge with relatives in nearby villages or the city of Faisalabad.