In eastern Pakistan, a Christian community faced a violent attack perpetrated by hundreds of Muslim men, resulting in the vandalism of multiple churches, a cemetery, and the burning of numerous houses.
The assailants accused the Christian community of desecrating a copy of the Qur’an, which triggered the aggression.
The incident unfolded in Faisalabad, where a large group armed with sticks and rocks targeted an area predominantly inhabited by Christians. Images circulated on social media depicted smoke emanating from the churches and individuals setting fire to furniture.
Over 100 people were arrested, said Punjab's caretaker information minister, Amir Mir. "People who attacked the churches are being identified through video footage," he said.
According to a rescue official present at the scene, the attack was sparked by a faction of religious zealots who alleged that a local Christian family had defiled the Qur’an. According to reports, Rana Imran Jamil, the spokesperson for the city's 1122 rescue service, revealed that photographs and video clips of burned Qur’an pages were shared among locals, leading to a state of uproar. He mentioned that four
churches had been set ablaze, but no injuries were reported. There are also reports that several Christian families have vacated their homes following announcements made by clerics in mosques that incited the violent mob.
Blasphemy remains a highly sensitive and contentious issue in ultra-conservative Pakistan. The country's strict interpretation of blasphemy laws dictates that anyone perceived to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures may face severe penalties, including death. Domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities in Pakistan and settle personal scores. Christians, constituting around 2% of the population in Pakistan, occupy a marginalised position within society and are frequently subjected to baseless accusations of blasphemy.